ACT Registration Checklist and Testing Dates

ChecklistCompleting the ACT registration process is the first step toward sitting down to take the test. Having a checklist of things to do can help you to organize the process.

Learn about the steps you need to take, as well as some important things to consider, before you sit down to register for the ACT.

Create a Student Account Online
ACT registration can be accomplished very easily by visiting their official website, ACT.org. After creating an account, it takes about 40 minutes to complete the registration forms. There is a test fee that you can pay with a credit card via a secure payment system. Also, you must upload a photo of yourself during ACT test registration. This photo is used for identification purposes and will be put onto the ticket that you’ll take with you to the testing center.

Special Accommodations for the Test
If you have a disability, it’s possible to get special accommodations for the ACT. For instance, if you’re visually impaired, you may be able to arrange for a magnifying device or a reader. During the registration process, you have the chance to express the need for special accommodations. After registration is complete, you will receive an email explaining how to request testing accommodations. You must then work with the officials at your school to secure accommodations for the ACT. You will have to submit proof of a disability along with other documentation. Your school must submit the actual request for accommodations to ACT testing officials.

The Writing Test
The writing test on the ACT is optional. During registration, you can specify whether you want to take it. If you change your mind later about taking the writing test, you can log onto the website and make this adjustment. Keep in mind that you must make the change before the late registration deadline connected with your test date. There is an additional fee for the writing test.

Choose a Test Date and Location
You’ll have the opportunity to choose a test date as well as a testing center located near you. On the website, there is a chart that displays upcoming test dates as well as corresponding ACT registration dates. The ACT registration dates are the deadlines for anyone who wants to take the test on a particular day. It’s possible to register for the test after the deadline passes, but the ACT charges a late fee for that service. The test center locator on the website makes it simple for you to find a location that is convenient. Your test date and location will be confirmed after you finish the ACT test registration process.

Arranging for the Delivery of Score Reports
As part of your testing fee, the ACT sends your score report to four colleges. You can specify these colleges during test registration. You have the option of sending your score report to more than four colleges, but there is a fee for each additional request.

Preparing for the Test
After going through the process of ACT registration, your next step is to prep for the test! That’s where we can help. At Veritas Prep, our talented instructors can provide you with tools that enable you to highlight your skills on the ACT. We’ll guide you through taking a practice ACT to reveal both your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the material on this test. In addition, we’ll pair you with an instructor who knows how to convey lessons with your learning style in mind. We’ll help you improve your test performance by giving you strategies to use on every section of the ACT.

When you sign up with Veritas Prep, you get to study with an instructor who scored in the 99th percentile on the test, so the study tips you receive are coming from someone who has taken and conquered the ACT! Our team is proud to provide quality ACT tutoring both online and in person. We use proven study resources in our classes so you know you’re getting practical information you can use on the test.

If you’re looking for the best in ACT prep, send us an email or give us a call today. Let Veritas Prep play a part in your victory on the ACT!

Still need to take the ACT? We run a free online ACT prep seminar every few weeks. And be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

Solving GMAT Geometry Problems That Involve Infinite Figures

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomSometimes, we come across GMAT geometry questions that involve figures inscribed inside other figures. One shape inside of another shape may not be difficult to work with, but how do we handle problems that involve infinite figures inscribed inside one another? Such questions can unsettle even the most seasoned test takers. Let’s take a look at one of them today:

A square is drawn by joining the midpoints of the sides of a given square. A third square is drawn inside the second square in this way and this process is continued indefinitely. If a side of the first square is 4 cm. Determine the sum of areas of all squares?

(A) 18
(B) 32
(C) 36
(D) 64
(E) None

Now the first thing that might come to our mind is this – how do we mathematically, in the time limit of approximately 2 minutes, calculate areas of infinite squares?

There has to be a formula for this. Recall that we do, in fact, have a formula that calculates the sum of infinite terms – the geometric progression formula! Let’s see if we can use that to find the areas of the squares mentioned in this problem.

ConcentricSquares

First, we’ll see if we can find a pattern in the areas of the squares:

Say the side of the outermost square is “s“. The area of the outermost square will be s^2 and half of the side will be s/2. The side of the next square inside this outermost square (the second square) forms the hypotenuse of a right triangle with legs of length s/2 each. Using the Pythagorean Theorem:

Hypotenuse^2 = (s/2)^2 + (s/2)^2 = s^2/2
Hypotenuse = s/√(2)

So now we know the sides of the second square will each equal s/√(2), and the area of the second square will be s^2/2.

Our calculations will be far easier if we note that the diagonal of the second square will be the same length as the side of the outer square. We know that area of a square given diagonal d is d^2/2, so that would directly bring us to s^2/2 as the area of the second square.

The second square and the square inscribed further inside it (the third square) will have the same relation. The area of the third square will be (s^2/2)*(1/2) = s^2/4.

Now we know the area of every subsequent square will be half the area of the outside square. So the total area of all squares = s^2 + s^2/2 + s^2/4 + s^2/8 + …Each term is half the previous term.

Therefore, the sum of an infinite Geometric Progression where the common ratio is less than 1 is:

Total Sum = a/(1-r)
a: First Term
r: Common Ratio

Sum of areas of all squares = s^2 + s^2/2 + s^2/4 + s^2/8 + …
Sum of areas of all squares = s^2/(1 – 1/2)
Sum of areas of all squares = 2s^2

Since s is the length of the side of the outermost square, and s = 4 (this fact is given to us by the questions stem), the sum of the areas of all the squares = 2*4^2 = 32 cm^2. Therefore, our answer is B.

We hope you understand how we have used the geometric progression formula to get to our answer. To recap, the sum of an infinite geometric progression is a/(1 – r).

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

How to Find the Maximum Distance Between Points on a 3D Object

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomHow do we find the the two farthest points on a 3D object? For example, we know that on a circle, any two points that are diametrically opposite will be the farthest from each other than from any other points on the circle. Which two points will be the farthest from each other on a square? The diagonally opposite vertices. Now here is a trickier question – which two points are farthest from each other on a rectangular solid? Again, they will be diagonally opposite, but the question is, which diagonal?

A rectangular box is 10 inches wide, 10 inches long, and 5 inches high. What is the greatest possible (straight-line) distance, in inches, between any two points on the box?

(A) 15
(B) 20
(C) 25
(D) 10 * √(2)
(E) 10 * √(3)

There are various different diagonals in a rectangular solid. Look at the given figure:
MaxDistRectangularSolid

 

 

 

 

 

BE is a diagonal, BG is a diagonal, GE is a diagonal, and BH is a diagonal. So which two points are farthest from each other? B and E, G and E, B and G, or B and H?

The inside diagonal BH can be seen as the hypotenuse of the right triangle BEH. So both BE and EH will be shorter in length than BH.

The inside diagonal BH can also be seen as the hypotenuse of the right triangle BHG. So both HG and BG will also be shorter in length than BH.

The inside diagonal BH can also be seen as the hypotenuse of the right triangle BDH. So both BD and DH will also be shorter in length than BH.

Thus, we see that BH will be longer than all other diagonals, meaning B and H are the points that are the farthest from each other. Solving for the exact value of BH then should not be difficult.

In our question we know that:

l = 10 inches
w = 10 inches
h = 5 inches

Let’s consider the right triangle DHB. DH is the length, so it is 10 inches.

DB is the diagonal of the right triangle DBC. If DC = w = 10 and BC = h = 5, then we can solve for DB^2 using the Pythagorian Theorem:

DB^2 = DC^2 + BC^2
DB^2 = 10^2 + 5^2 = 125

Going back to triangle DHB, we can now say that:

BH^2 = HD^2 + DB^2
BH^2 = 10^2 + 125
BH = √(225) = 15

Thus, our answer to this question is A.

Similarly, which two points on a cylinder will be the farthest from each other? Let’s examine the following practice GMAT question to find out:

The radius of cylinder C is 5 inches, and the height of cylinder C is 5 inches. What is the greatest possible straight line distance, in inches, between any two points on a cylinder C?

(A) 5 * √2
(B) 5 * √3
(C) 5 * √5
(D) 10
(E) 15

Look at where the farthest points will lie – diametrically opposite from each other and also at the opposite sides of the length of the cylinder:
MaxDistanceCylinder

 

 

 

 

 

 

The diameter, the height and the distance between the points forms a right triangle. Using the given measurements, we can now solve for the distance between the two points:

Diameter^2 + Height^2 = Distance^2
10^2 + 5^2 = Distance^2
Distance = 5 * √5

Thus, our answer is C.

In both cases, if we start from one extreme point and traverse every length once, we reach the farthest point. For example, in case of the rectangular solid, say we start from H, cover length l and reach D – from D, we cover length w and reach C, and from C, we cover length h and reach B. These two are the farthest points.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

What Subjects Are on the GRE Exam?

SAT/ACTWhat subjects are on the GRE? Many students are aware of the standard Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, but may not know as much about the GRE subject tests. These tests reveal a student’s skills and knowledge in a specific subject. Here, you can discover more about the seven GRE subject tests offered to students who plan to apply to graduate school, as well as what subjects you can expect to find on each test.

Mathematics
About 50 percent of the mathematics test consists of calculus questions. The questions cover both integral and differential calculus. A student must be prepared to apply calculus concepts when completing this section. Students will also encounter basic, linear, and abstract algebra questions. They must understand systems of linear equations, characteristic polynomials, group theory, and number theory among other concepts. Other test topics include geometry, statistics, probability, and algorithms.

There are a total of 66 multiple-choice questions on this test. Students preparing for the mathematics test can benefit from the knowledge and experience of our professional instructors at Veritas Prep. In our online courses, we teach students effective test-taking strategies and tips that help them approach the GRE subject tests with confidence.

Physics
This test challenges a student’s understanding and application of the principles of physics. There are 100 multiple-choice questions on the physics test. A student’s prep work should include studying topics such as electromagnetism, classical mechanics, atomic physics, quantum mechanics, and special relativity. Knowledge of calculus, coordinate systems, partial differential equations, and vector algebra is also helpful when completing questions on the physics test.

Biology
Questions on cellular and molecular biology make up the first section of the biology test. Cell structure, cell function, genetics, DNA, and plant and animal viruses are all topics in this section. The second section on this test is all about organismal biology. Many of the questions concern animal and plant reproduction and development. Other questions relate to the instincts of animals and how plants and animals interact with their environment. There are also questions on fungi and its life cycle.

The third section on the biology test contains questions about ecology and evolution. Students are tested on behavioral ecology and ecosystems, as well as evolutionary processes. The instructors who teach our GRE subject test prep classes at Veritas Prep use high-quality resources to guide students as they study the various topics covered on the biology test.

Chemistry
The 130 questions on this test focus on a variety of chemistry skills. The test covers analytical, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. Some physical chemistry questions focus on the three laws of thermodynamics. There are organic chemistry questions that test a student’s skills with organometallics and various functional groups. Questions on physical chemistry and organic chemistry make up the bulk of this test. Veritas Prep’s instructors help students practice for all of the topics on this challenging test.

Biochemistry
Questions on biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and genetics are all a part of this subject test. Students use their problem-solving skills to answer many of the 170 questions on this test. They are presented with diagrams and experimental results and must choose the correct multiple-choice option based on the data they are given. Thermodynamics, kinetics, the cell cycle, chromosomes, and genome maintenance are some of the topics that students can expect to encounter on the biochemistry test.

English
The English test gives students an opportunity to display their knowledge of great works of literature. The 230 questions on this test challenge students to identify literary movements or may ask what time period a particular short story, novel, or poem belongs to. Some of the questions are factual while others are analytical. Students should be skilled at analyzing works of literature to identify genre or references made within a piece of writing. In addition, they should be knowledgeable about literary criticism.

Psychology
There are 205 multiple-choice questions on the psychology test. The questions are designed to test a student’s ability to analyze relationships, apply psychological principles and draw conclusions based on research data. Some of the topics found on the psychology test include memory, perception, behavioral neuroscience, abnormal psychology and the history of psychology.

Our helpful staff is glad to supply additional information to students who want to know what subjects are on the GRE. They are welcome to contact Veritas Prep regarding our GRE subject test prep courses. There are also helpful answers on our frequently asked questions page. We are proud to give students the tools they need to find success on these critical tests!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

Online Biology Tutoring

i-have-no-idea-what-im-doing-science-dog1As a high school student, it’s likely that you will take several natural science courses before graduation. Biology is just one example of a natural science. Animals, plants, cells, genetics, and evolution are a few of the topics contained in the curriculum of most high school biology courses. If you’re taking an AP biology course, then you’re studying these topics and others in an in-depth way. Plus, you’re receiving your lessons at a faster pace than students taking typical biology classes.

Taking advantage of biology tutoring online can be helpful to any student tackling this challenging branch of science, especially those in an AP course. Tutoring can also help those who plan to take the AP Biology exam. Earning a high score on this exam may help you receive college credit and serves to impress college admissions officials. If this is your goal, studying with a biology tutor online could be a smart choice.

Choosing the Best Study Environment
When studying with an online biology tutor, you can decide where to learn your lessons. This is an ideal situation if you like to have more control over where and how you learn. You may want to study in your room at home so you’re completely at ease in the environment. Or maybe you focus better when you’re at the library – many libraries have private study rooms you can reserve for a specified amount of time. Learning in a relaxed environment can help you to maintain your focus throughout your biology tutoring session.

Preparing for Each Tutoring Session
It’s a good idea to do some prep work before getting your instruction online. Biology tutoring sessions are much more effective when you have a plan for what to discuss with your instructor. One tip is to prepare a list of questions you have about recent lessons in biology class. Your tutor can help to clear up confusing points and offer a different perspective on difficult topics.

Another tip is to have your homework assignments with you to ask for assistance with challenging problems. Your online biology tutor will likely be able to suggest a different approach to puzzling questions. Taking a fresh approach to these questions can sometimes make them a lot more manageable.

Setting Goals for Biology Class
You probably have some specific goals you want to achieve in your biology class. For instance, you may set a short-term goal of getting an A on your next paper or quiz. Also, you may have a long-term goal of earning a score of at least 95 percent on the final exam.

Working with a biology tutor online means you have someone to share your goals with. Once you tell your tutor your goals, you will be accountable to someone besides yourself. Your tutor can provide you with specific ways to achieve your goals as well as give you plenty of encouragement along the way. Partnering with a tutor can help you excel in your biology class and reach your goals.

Taking Advantage of Additional Study Resources
An experienced tutor can give you suggestions for books, magazines, articles, and other publications that can enhance your knowledge of biology. When you study with one of our biology tutors online, you will be studying with someone who mastered the subject, and the professional tutors at Veritas Prep can provide you with plenty of suggestions when it comes to informative reading materials that can boost your performance in biology. In addition, our tutors are able to share the ways they enhanced their own knowledge while becoming experts on the subject!

At Veritas Prep, we can assist you with achieving any of your objectives when it comes to the study of biology. If you are reviewing for the AP Biology exam, we have tutors who can practice with you until you feel confident about taking the test. We can provide you with proven strategies to use on the tests and quizzes you tackle in your high school biology class. And we are available to prep students for the SAT subject test in biology as well as the AP Biology exam. Call us today and give the talented instructors at Veritas Prep the opportunity to study with you as you master the subject of biology.

How to Turn Your Negative Thoughts Into MBA Success

MBA EssaysAre your doubts about business school and thoughts of impending failure creeping in? Well, the good news is that this can work in your favor, according to best-selling author and Wharton’s top rated teacher, Adam Grant. In his book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Grant shares one approach of those challenging the status quo: defensive pessimism.

The good news is that negative thoughts can be channeled positively. Feeling worried and imagining all the things that can go wrong with future plans can actually help you approach potential challenges with defensive pessimism.

In the case of your MBA applications, an effective way to use this anxiousness is by diligently covering all your bases – taking care to go through the list of tasks you need to accomplish and finding the right steps to take before officially submitting your application. Converting a realistic assessment of your candidacy into actionable plans can help turn your anxiety into motivation and focus.

In my nine years of working with clients who have diverse backgrounds and personalities, I have helped applicants who have varying levels of available time and effort to put into their business school applications. Time and again, those who made the most progress were the ones who could motivate themselves, reflect honestly, and take the following incremental steps towards their MBA goals:

Have Appropriate Fear
Professional sports coaches often talk about having “appropriate fear,” or the need for a team to respect their opponents and guard against complacency. Similarly, in the case of your own MBA applications, being conscious of timelines and honestly assessing how much time each application step takes will help keep you on track towards your end goal. This will  also allow you to you remain engaged with the tasks on hand, and not feel like you can magically finish them perfectly in one sitting.

Procrastinate Strategically
Another tip from Grant is to procrastinate strategically through actions such as taking a break in the middle of the brainstorming or writing process. I agree with this and have seen the benefits of clients first writing down initial ideas (even just bullet points) for their MBA application essays, and then letting their thoughts marinate while they take a break.

Coming back to an essay later on helps applicants reflect on what they have just written and better relate ideas with their underlying values and future goals, or even come up with better examples to use. The key is to take the break in the middle of the task (and not for too long) and to not use it as an excuse to delay getting started!

Welcome Criticism
Much of the stress from MBA applications comes from criticisms, whether from family, friends, or from your likely worst critic, yourself.

How you handle these criticisms will be the difference between defensive pessimism and harmful pessimism. You can let doubts about your worthiness as a candidate paralyze you, or be in total denial of critique regarding your profile and miss out on dealing with obvious blind spots. Alternatively, you can honestly appraise your perceived weaknesses and take the opportunity to address them with thoughtful reflections and powerful examples.

Use the steps above to help turn your business school worries into powerful motivation to keep you on track toward application success.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! And as always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD. You can read more articles by him here

Common Traits of SAT Writing Prompts and How to Best Prepare

SAT WorryOn the optional SAT Essay section, you have 50 minutes to analyze the argument an author puts forth in a passage. The content of the given passage remains a secret until you see it on test day, but you do have an opportunity to learn about SAT Essay prompts as you prep for the test. Studying the elements of SAT writing prompts can help you lay the groundwork for a stellar essay.

Elements of the SAT Essay Prompt
All of the optional SAT Essay prompts adhere to the same basic template. First, the prompt instructs you to consider how the author of the passage uses evidence (examples or facts) to support their claims. Secondly, you’re asked to consider the author’s idea development as well as how they connect their claims with evidence. Third, you must consider the author’s use of elements such as their word choice to enhance their ideas. Though these are the basic elements of all SAT writing prompts, the passages vary from one exam to the next.

What to Expect in the Passage Given for the SAT Essay
The practice Essay prompts that are available reveal some of what to expect on the actual test. For example, one practice prompt may ask you to analyze a portion of a speech made by Martin Luther King Jr. on the injustice of the Vietnam War. Another may be a prompt connected to a passage from a book written by President Jimmy Carter, asking you to analyze his argument against the industrial development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Other passages available for students to use to practice their writing skills before taking the SAT are pieces written by contemporary authors such as Paul Bogard and Eliana Dockterman. But keep in mind that when responding to every SAT Essay prompt, the content of the passage is not as important as the quality of the author’s argument.

Preparing to Write Your Essay
The best way to prepare for the new SAT Essay is to practice writing essays with sample SAT writing prompts in mind. Also, get into the habit of jotting down notes as you read the passage. These notes can help you to include evidence that supports your analysis of the author’s argument.

Creating an outline before writing your practice essay is another effective way to prepare for this task. The typical outline features four parts: an introductory paragraph that includes your thesis sentence, a paragraph offering specific examples that support your thesis, a third paragraph covering details of how these examples support your thesis, and a concluding paragraph restating your thesis. Dedicating several minutes to creating an outline for your essay is worth your effort. If you happen to lose your train of thought while writing the actual essay, you can look at your outline to get back on track.

The Ingredients in a High-Scoring SAT Essay
In addition to studying the available SAT Essay prompts, it’s a smart idea to read several essays that received high scores. The new SAT Essay rubric reveals the specific features an essay must have in order to earn a high score. Write your essay using a practice prompt, then evaluate your piece using the rubric to get an idea of how you would have scored. By doing this, you can determine what needs to be put into and left out of your essay in order to earn a high score.

Want to practice with the best? The SAT instructors at Veritas Prep are experts at crafting high-scoring essays. We hire tutors who scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT, so you’ll have access to teachers who know tips and tricks to simplify the essay-writing process. We’ll critique your practice essays and provide you with strategies for crafting a solid analysis of the passage.

We also offer free tutorials to give you an idea of how we can help you prepare for the SAT Essay section as well as all other parts of the test. And when you sign up with Veritas Prep, you can take advantage of either online or in-person courses for your convenience. Give us a call and let our instructors give you the advantage on the new SAT Essay section!

Still need to take the SAT? Check out our variety of free SAT resources to help you study successfully. And be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

GMAT Sentence Correction: How to Tackle Inverted Sentence Structures

GMAC Jobs PollOne of the challenges test-takers encounter on Sentence Correction questions is the tendency of question writers to structure sentences in a way that departs from the way we typically write or speak. Take a simple example: “My books are on the table,” could also be written as “On the table are my books.” If you’re like me, you cringe a little bit with the second option – it sounds starchy and pretentious, but it’s a perfectly legitimate sentence, and an example of what’s called “inverted structure.”

In a standard structure, the subject will precede the verb. In an inverted structure, the subject comes after the verb. The tipoff for such a construction is typically a prepositional phrase – in this case, “on the table,” followed by a verb. It is important to recognize that the object of the prepositional phrase, “table,” cannot be the subject of the verb, “are,” so we know that the subject will come after the verb.

Let’s look at an example from an official GMAT question:

The Achaemenid empire of Persia reached the Indus Valley in the fifth century B.C., bringing the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and southern Indian alphabets.

(A) the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and
(B) the Aramaic script with it, and from which deriving both the northern and the
(C) with it the Aramaic script, from which derive both the northern and the
(D) with it the Aramaic script, from which derives both northern and
(E) with it the Aramaic script, and deriving from it both the northern and 

The first thing you might notice is the use of the relative pronoun “which.” We’d like for “which” to be as close to as possible to its referent. So what do we think the alphabets were derived from? From the Aramaic script.

Notice that in options A and B, the closes referent to “which” is “it.” There are two problems here. One, it would be confusing for one pronoun, “which,” to have another pronoun, “it,” as its antecedent. Moreover, “it” here seems to refer to the Achaemenid Empire. Do we think that the alphabets derived from the empire? Nope. Eliminate A and B. Though E eliminates the “which,” this option also seems to indicate that the alphabets derived from the empire, so E is out as well.

We’re now down to C and D. Notice that our first decision point is to choose between “from which derive” and “from which derives.” This is an instance of inverted sentence structure. We have the prepositional phrase “from which,” followed immediately by a verb “derive or “derives.” Thus, we know that the subject for this verb is going to come later in the sentence, in this case, the northern and southern alphabets.  If we were to rearrange the sentences so that they had a more conventional structure, our choice would be between the following options:

C) Both the northern and the southern Indian alphabets derive from [the empire.]

or

D) Both northern and southern Indian alphabets derives from [the empire.]

Because “alphabets” is plural, we want to pair this subject with the plural verb, “derive.” Therefore, the correct answer is C.

Takeaway: anytime we see the construction “prepositional phrase + verb,” we are very likely looking at a sentence with an inverted sentence structure. In these cases, make sure to look for the subject of the sentence after the verb, rather than before.

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter!

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles written by him here.

3 Things to Avoid When Applying to Business School as a Consultant

MBA AdmissionsOne of the biggest industry feeders to top MBA programs, year in and year out, is consulting. Consultants often come to business schools with an impressive list of client experiences, analytical skills, and business presence.

Now, given the surplus of candidates applying from this applicant pool, application season can be very competitive. This competitiveness makes it even more important for consultants to avoid the following issues when applying to MBA programs:

1) They Have No Clear Need for an MBA
A career in consulting presents many opportunities to develop a myriad of skills. Consultants are regularly poached to work with some of the top companies in the world, as well. The challenge sometimes for consultants applying to business school then is properly communicating why they actually need an MBA.

This may come across as a little odd, given that one would assume if you are applying to business school you should have this detail mapped out, but sometimes a candidate’s rationale can seem muddled in their application. In a weird way, business schools want to feel like they are needed by the applicant, and if there is not a clear opportunity to add value to a person’s life post-MBA, that can be problematic for a candidate applying from such a competitive applicant pool.

2) Using Too Much “We” and Not Enough “I”
One of the great advantages of working in consulting is the teamwork-oriented work culture the industry is known for. As MBA programs move increasingly towards a more collaborative approach to learning, the ability to work with others becomes more and more valued. However, given their predominantly team-based work, many consultants struggle to communicate their individual contributions to the greater good of a company. As such, resumes and essays often read as too much “we” and not enough “I,” thus making it difficult for the Admissions Committee to discern the true impact the individual applicant has had during their career.

3) Minimizing Accomplishments
Consultants can drive huge impact for clients and their firms on almost every project they work on. This exposure to top companies and major projects on a consistent basis can sometimes make it difficult for consultants to properly contextualize the impact of their work. Avoid minimizing your accomplishments by focusing on your own individual contributions, not just through quantitative numbers but also through qualitative experiences. Focus on highlighting your most impactful moments while contributing a holistic view of your work to best inform the Admissions Committee of your accomplishments.

Follow the tips above to avoid wasting all of the great experience you have developed as a consultant when applying to business school.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

How to Prepare and Practice for the GRE Verbal Reasoning Section

stressed-studentThe Verbal Reasoning section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) challenges a student’s reading comprehension, vocabulary, and sentence completion skills. Our talented instructors at Veritas Prep teach students how to prepare for GRE Verbal Reasoning questions. There are several practical strategies available to students that can help them conquer even the most difficult questions in this section.

Check out some valuable tips that students may use to prep for the Verbal Reasoning questions on the GRE:

Complete One or More Practice Exams
Taking a practice test is an important step in preparing for the GRE. Verbal Reasoning practice questions give students a sneak preview of what to expect on the test. Furthermore, students can look at the results of a practice test to determine which skills they need to work on.

Some students may do well on the reading comprehension questions, but need a little help with questions that involve analogies. Other students may experience success with questions that involve antonyms and synonyms, but have trouble with questions that ask them to identify the main point of a written passage. Our Veritas Prep professional instructors are able to provide students with techniques on how to improve specific skills tested in the Verbal Reasoning section.

Put Tips and Strategies Into Practice
After working with a Veritas Prep instructor for a time, it’s a good idea for students to take another practice test. This helps them get into the habit of using our strategies on the GRE. Verbal practice questions are much easier to handle when a student employs our strategies.

One example of an easy test-taking strategy is to look at the question, as well as all of the answer options before reading a passage. Skimming the question and the answer options gives a student an idea of what to look for in the passage. Perhaps the question concerns the main idea of the passage or asks a student to notice something about its supporting details. Our instructors are experts at providing strategies that help students pinpoint the most important parts of a passage.

Another simple strategy can be used on sentence completion questions in the GRE Verbal section – look through all of the answer options and eliminate choices that are obviously incorrect. In addition, it’s helpful to plug each answer option into the sentence and read it to see if it makes sense. Students who want to take advantage of these and other strategies for the GRE are encouraged to contact our offices to sign up for a prep course today.

Read Magazines and Newspapers
Reading magazines and newspapers is another way for students to prepare for the GRE. Verbal practice questions require a student to be familiar with a lot of vocabulary words. A student who reads magazine and newspaper articles is likely to encounter some of the same vocabulary words that appear on the GRE. Art, science and news magazines are ideal choices for students who want to see these vocabulary words in context. Seeing unfamiliar vocabulary words used in context is an effective way of retaining a word as well as its definition.

Students who study online with Veritas Prep are giving themselves an extra advantage on the GRE. Verbal prep exercises can help them to feel less anxious about the test. Our team uses effective study resources to help students thoroughly prepare for the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE.

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

Advanced Number Properties on the GMAT – Part VII

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomWe have seen a number of posts on divisibility, odd-even concepts and perfect squares. Individually, each topic has very simple concepts but when they all come together in one GMAT question, it can be difficult to wrap one’s head around so many ideas. The GMAT excels at giving questions where multiple concepts are tested. Let’s take a look at one such Data Sufficiency question today:

If p, x, and y are positive integers, y is odd, and p = x^2 + y^2, is x divisible by 4?

1) When p is divided by 8, the remainder is 5.
2) x – y = 3

This Data Sufficiency question has a lot of information in the question stem.  First, we need to sort through this information before we move on to the statements.

We know that p, x and y are positive integers. y is an unknown odd number, so it can be written in the form 2n + 1. We also know that p = x^2 + y^2.

Because y is written in the form 2n + 1, y^2 can be written as:

y^2 =(2n + 1)^2

y^2 = 4n^2 + 4n + 1

y^2 = 4n(n + 1) + 1

An interesting thing to note here is that one case of n and (n+1) will be odd and the other will be even. In every case, n(n + 1) is even. Therefore, y^2 is 1 more than a multiple of 8. In other words, we can write it as y^2 = 8m + 1.

Now we can say p = x^2 + 8m + 1.

With this in mind, is x divisible by 4? Let’s examine the statements to find out:

Statement 1: When p is divided by 8, the remainder is 5.

Because y^2 = 8m + 1, we can see that when y^2 is divided by 8, the remainder will be 1. Therefore, to get a remainder of 5 when p is divided by 8, when x^2 is divided by 8, we should get a remainder of 4.

Now we know that x^2 can be written in the form 8a + 4 (i.e. we can make “a’” groups of 8 each and have 4 leftover).

x^2 = 4*(2a + 1)

So x = 2 * √(an odd number)

Note that square root of an odd number will be an odd number only. If there is no 2 in the perfect square, obviously there was no 2 in the number, too.

So, x = 2 * some other odd number, which means x will be a multiple of 2, but not of 4 definitely. This statement alone is sufficient.

Now let’s look at the next statement:

Statement 2: x – y = 3

Since y is odd, we can say that x will be even (an even – an odd = an odd). But whether x is divisible by 2 only or by 4 as well, we cannot say since we have no constraints on p.

This statement alone is not sufficient to answer the question. Therefore, our answer is A.

Test takers might feel that not every step in this solution is instinctive. For example, how do we know that we should put y^2 in the form 4n(n+1) + 1? Keep the target in mind – we know that we need to find whether x is divisible by 4. Hence, try to get everything in terms of multiples of 4 + a remainder.

See you next week!

(For more advanced number properties on the GMAT, check out Parts IIIIIIIV, V and VI of this series.)

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

Your ACT Is Done: Now What? How and When ACT Scores Are Available

Letter of Recommendation“Are ACT scores out yet?” “Are ACT scores posted online?” These are just two of the many questions that you and other high school students may have after taking the ACT. Naturally, most students want to know when ACT scores are available as well as how to send them to their preferred colleges. We can help you get the answers to these pertinent queries and others relating to ACT score reports.

How to Get Your Scores
Are ACT scores posted online? The answer is yes! In order to register for the test, you had to create a student account at the official website, ACT.org. This same account gives you access to your test scores. In addition to online access, you will get a score report in the form of a PDF via your student account. Remember that those who have taken the ACT view scores through their secure online account – the ACT doesn’t deliver scores via email, fax, chat, or telephone.

When Will My ACT Scores Be Available?
Normally, your composite score for the multiple-choice sections of the test can be viewed within two weeks after your test date. After getting your composite score, it takes approximately two more weeks to get your writing score. When ACT test results for the writing portion of the test are available, you’ll be notified via your online account. Keep in mind that the ACT’s official time frame for releasing a student’s scores is between two and eight weeks, so if your scores aren’t available within two weeks after the test, try checking back in another week or two.

What Can Delay the Arrival of My ACT Scores?
These are the basics on when ACT scores are available, but there are some circumstances that can delay the arrival of your scores. For example, a rescheduled testing date may mean that your scores are made available later than expected. Inaccuracies on your test forms can also cause a delay in the arrival of your scores. That’s why it’s so important to fill out the test forms completely and as instructed. Of course, you can contact those who administer the ACT via their website if you have any questions.

Sending Scores to Colleges
The most important people who will see your ACT scores are admissions officers, so you’ll want to make sure that your preferred colleges get them as well. During the test registration process, you can arrange for your test scores to be sent to four colleges. Make sure that you enter the correct college codes as you move through the process so there won’t be any delays in the delivery of your score reports.

Retaking the ACT
If you decide you want to retake the ACT, you’re allowed to do so as many times as you want. But before signing up to take the test again, make sure that you have a good reason to think that you’ll do better the second time. For example, perhaps you were sick on test day and felt that your illness affected your performance. Or maybe you felt unprepared for a particular section of the test and you want to review some things before giving the test another try. As far as ACT scores are concerned, colleges only consider your highest score on the test, so it can’t hurt to study up and try again.

Starting Off on the Right Foot
Whether you plan to retake the ACT or you’re taking it for the first time, our instructors are here to help! We give you strategies you can use on all sections of the test, including the essay. We guide you in taking a practice ACT, then review the results with you. This is an effective way to focus your efforts on the subjects that need the most work. You’ll be paired with a Veritas Prep instructor who is familiar with your learning style, making each of your tutoring sessions all the more productive. We use professional study materials and resources in our online and in-person courses. When you study with us, you receive the tools you need to master the ACT on test day.

If you want to know more about the study program at Veritas Prep, check out our ACT trial class. You’ll learn about the subtleties of the ACT and get valuable tips from an experienced instructor. And be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

GMAT Tip of the Week: 3 Guiding Principles for Exponent Problems

GMAT Tip of the WeekIf you’re like many GMAT examinees, you’ve found yourself in this familiar situation. You KNOW the rules for exponents. You know them cold. When you’re multiplying the same base and different exponents, you add the exponents. When you’re taking one exponent to another power, you multiply those exponents. A negative exponent? Flip that term into the denominator. A number to the zero power? You’ve got yourself a 1.

But as thoroughly and quickly as you know those rules, this exponent-based problem in front of you has you stumped. You know what you need to KNOW, but you’re not quite sure what you need to DO. And that’s an ever-important part about taking the GMAT – it’s necessary to know the core rules, facts, and formulas, but it’s also every bit as important to have action items for how you’ll apply that knowledge to tricky problems.

For exponents, there are three “guiding principles” that you should keep in mind as your action items. Any time you’re stuck on an exponent-based problem, look to do one (or more) of these things:

1) Find Common Bases
Most of the exponent rules you know only apply when you’re dealing with two exponents of the same base. When you multiply same-base exponents, you add the exponents; when you divide two same-base exponents, you subtract. And if two exponents of the same base are set equal, then you know that the exponents are equal. But keep in mind – these major rules all require you to be using exponents with the same base! If the GMAT gives you a problem with different bases, you have to find ways to make them common, usually by factoring them into their prime bases.

So for example, you might see a problem that says that:

2^x * 4^2x = 8^y. Which of the following must be true?

(A) 3x = y
(B) x = 3y
(C) y = (3/5)x
(D) x = (3/5)y
(E) 2x^2 = y

In order to apply any rules that you know, you must get the bases in a position where they’ll talk to each other. Since 2, 4, and 8 are all powers of 2, you should factor them all in to base 2, rewriting as:

2^x * (2^2)^2x = (2^3)^y

Which simplifies to:

2^x * 2^4x = 2^3y

Now you can add together the exponents on the left:

2^5x = 2^3y

And since you have the same base set equal with two different exponents, you know that the exponents are equal:

5x = 3y

This means that you can divide both sides by 5 to get x = (3/5)y, making answer choice D correct. But more importantly in a larger context, heed this lesson – when you see an exponent problem with different bases for multiple exponents, try to find ways to get the bases the same, usually by prime-factoring the bases.

2) Factor to Create Multiplication
Another important thing about exponents is that they represent recurring multiplication. x^5, for example, is x * x * x * x * x…it’s a lot of x’s multiplied together. Naturally, then, pretty much all exponent rules apply in cases of multiplication, division, or more exponents – you don’t have rules that directly apply to addition or subtraction. For that reason, when you see addition or subtraction in an exponent problem, one of your core instincts should be to factor common terms to create multiplication or division so that you’re in a better position to leverage the rules you know. So, for example, if you’re given the problem:

2^x + 2^(x + 3) = (6^2)(2^18). What is the value of x?

(A) 18
(B) 20
(C) 21
(D) 22
(E) 24

You should see that in order to do anything with the left-hand side of the equation, you’ll need to factor the common 2^x in order to create multiplication and be in a position to divide and cancel terms from the right. Doing so leaves you with:

2^x(1 + 2^3) = (6^2)(2^18)

Here, you can simplify the 1 + 2^3 parenthetical: 2^3 = 8, so that term becomes 9, leaving you with:

9(2^x) = (6^2)(2^18)

And here, you should heed the wisdom from above and find common bases. The 9 on the left is 3^2, and the 6^2 on the right can be broken into 3^2 * 2^2. This gives you:

(3^2)(2^x) = (3^2)(2^2)(2^18)

Now the 3^2 terms will cancel, and you can add the exponents of the base-2 exponents on the right. That means that 2^x = 2^20, so you know that x = 20. And a huge key to solving this one was factoring the addition into multiplication, a crucial exponent-based action item on test day.

3) Test Small Numbers and Look For Patterns
Remember: exponents are a way to denote repetitive, recurring multiplication. And when you do the same thing over and over again, you tend to get similar results. So exponents lend themselves well to finding and extrapolating patterns. When in doubt – when a problem involves too much abstraction or too large of numbers for you to get your head around – see what would happen if you replaced the large or abstract terms with smaller ones, and if you find a pattern, then look to extrapolate it. With this in mind, consider the problem:

What is the tens digit of 11^13?

(A) 1
(B) 2
(C) 3
(D) 4
(E) 5

Naturally, calculating 11^13 without a calculator is a fool’s errand, but you can start by taking the first few steps and seeing if you establish a pattern:

11^1 = 11 –> tens digit of 1

11^2 = 121 –> tens digit of 2

11^3 = 1331 –> tens digit of 3

And depending on how much time you have you could continue:

11^4 = 14641 –> tens digit of 4

But generally feel pretty good that you’ve established a recurring pattern: the tens digit increases by 1 each time, so by 11^13 it will be back at 3. So even though you’ll never know exactly what 11^13 is, you can be confident in your answer.

Remember: the GMAT is a test of how well you apply knowledge, not just of how well you can memorize it. So for any concept, don’t just know the rules, but also give yourself action items for what you’ll do when problems get tricky. For exponent problems, you have three guiding principles:

1) Find Common Bases
2) Factor to Create Multiplication
3) Test Small Numbers to Find a Pattern

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter!

By Brian Galvin.

Know Before You Go: What to Expect When You Go to a College Admissions Interview

InterviewFor some students, attending a college admissions interview is part of the process of getting into a school. An admissions interview gives college officials the chance to learn about the goals and qualifications of a student. In turn, it gives a student the opportunity to express their great interest in studying at that particular school. Not surprisingly, students can expect to answer lots of questions during this meeting. That’s why it’s a good idea for them to study practice questions for college interview day.

Though no two interviews are exactly alike, there are some questions that are commonly asked by college officials. Students may want to take note of this collection of typical school interview questions so they can prepare to offer sincere, intelligent answers:

A Student’s Choice
“Why do you want to attend our school?” This is one of the most common admissions interview questions. A student should be as specific as possible when answering this question. For instance, a student who plans to study business may point out that the school has solid relationships with several companies that offer internships to students. Perhaps this student wants to work as an intern for one of those companies. Another student might express the desire to learn from a world-renowned biology professor who teaches at the college.

Students would be wise to go online and visit colleges’ websites to find out more particulars about the schools prior to visiting them. Information on a school’s website can help students answer any number of good college interview questions.

Our admissions consultants at Veritas Prep are available to help students in a variety of ways as they move toward acceptance into college. Our consultants have practical experience with the admissions process and know what college officials are looking for in a potential student. We review college applications and suggest changes that focus the spotlight on a student’s talents and achievements.

Personality Questions
An individual can learn a lot about a student by asking personality-related interview questions. College officials may ask about a student’s strengths and weaknesses. When answering this question, a student should place the focus on their strengths. It’s also a good idea for a student to offer examples of how they are trying to improve in weaker areas. For instance, a student may say that they have some challenges delegating tasks as the leader of a team project for school. The student could add that they are taking a course on leadership and reading a few specific books written by successful leaders to learn some helpful strategies.

Interviewers may also ask students to choose adjectives that are self-descriptive. Students should be honest when selecting these adjectives. Remember that an ambitious student can be confident without sounding arrogant.

Questions About a Future Career
Many school interview questions have to do with a student’s plans after graduation. Officials want to know how a student will use their college education in a future career. As an example, a student who plans to study art history may use the knowledge learned in college courses to prepare for a career as the curator of an art museum. Another student may explain that earning a marketing degree will prepare them to start their own retail clothing business. Once again, a student must be as specific as possible in answering questions about a future career.

A Student’s Questions
After answering a lot of good college interview questions, students often get the chance to ask some of their own. Students can prep for this portion of the interview before the meeting by coming up with a few questions about the school. They may want to ask about the various resources available in the library for individuals studying a particular subject. Students sometimes ask about the services offered by the school’s career resource center. Lots of students inquire about opportunities to study abroad for a semester.

Interviewees should ask about two or three things that aren’t covered on the school’s website. Students who ask thoughtful questions are likely to be remembered by college officials as the admissions process moves on.

Students who’d like the assistance of a professional Veritas Prep consultant when applying for college can contact us via email or phone. Our knowledgeable consultants offer tips and advice to students so they can make the best possible impression on college admissions officials.

Do you need more help navigating the college admissions process? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

What is an Average GRE Score?

GMATIndividuals who want to take the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, must do a lot of prep work. Most students have many questions about the test, among them: What is the average GRE score? They want to know so they have an idea of the scores other students around the country receive. Take a look at some average GRE scores, and learn how our talented team at Veritas Prep helps students to highlight their academic skills on this test.

What Is the Average GRE Score?
Before looking at the average scores on the revised GRE, it’s helpful to know the scoring range for each section of the test. A student can receive a score of anywhere between 130 and 170 on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative sections. On the Analytical Writing section, students can score from 0 to 6 points, in half point increments. On the GRE, average scores are as follows: 150.2 points for the Verbal Reasoning section, 152.5 points for the Quantitative section, and 3.5 points for the Analytical Writing section.

Most schools display the average test scores of their applicants on their official websites. Students who visit the website of a particular school to read its admission guidelines can often find out the average GRE scores of students who gain acceptance into the institution. This is a good way for a student to find out what he or she needs to achieve on the GRE in order to make it into a particular graduate school.

Growing Stronger in Every Subject on the GRE
Taking a practice test is one of the most effective ways of finding a student’s strengths and weaknesses on the GRE. With the help of his or her instructor, a student is able to pinpoint skills that need improvement. This prevents a student from devoting too much study time to skills that he or she already knows.

Once a student realizes what needs improvement, he or she can receive guidance from a Veritas Prep instructor regarding how to sharpen those skills. In many cases, our instructors provide students with a whole new way to approach a reading question or a math equation. Not surprisingly, many students continue to practice the skills they learn at Veritas Prep all of the way through graduate school! Once students begin to strengthen specific skills for the GRE, they gain a new sense of confidence and a more positive attitude toward the test.

Strategies and Tips for the GRE
We understand that most students want to excel on the GRE. Average scores are seen as a baseline by ambitious students who want their graduate school application to stand out in a crowd. The strategies our instructors share with students help them to complete the test in the most efficient way possible.

For instance, we teach students how to filter out the most significant parts of a written passage so they can determine the correct answer option. We also offer students strategies that assist them in simplifying complicated math equations. We guide students in learning how to jot down an outline that includes elements that will help them to create two organized essays for the test. Our professional instructors are very familiar with the GRE, so they are able to convey tips to students based on their own test-taking experiences.

The Night Before the Test
Veritas Prep students benefit in a number of different ways from our GRE prep courses as well as our first-rate study resources. But, there are additional things they can do to feel ready for the test. For instance, the evening before the test students can be sure to eat a nutritious dinner with plenty of protein as well as fruits and vegetables. A healthy meal the night before the test can set the stage for a successful test day. Also, students are wise to get to bed early so they feel well-rested the next day. Trying to cram information the night before the GRE is non-productive and adds to a student’s stress level.

Students can contact our staff by telephone or email to find out more about our GRE prep services. We are glad to offer more information about our online or in-person courses. At Veritas Prep, we want all of our students to perform at their very best on the GRE!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

How Long Should Your Harvard Application Essay Be?

Harvard Business SchoolHarvard Business School has really gone out of its way to present itself in opposition to the stodgy, elitist image it tends to hold in the MBA world. Through the use of its blog and a more simplified application and essay format, HBS has taken a much more casual approach to letting candidates tell their story during this year’s application season.

This approach has primarily manifested itself through the school’s choice to only offer one essay prompt in their application. As opposed to other MBA programs that require applicants to write two, three, and sometimes even four essays, Harvard’s sole essay requirement puts a lot of pressure on applicants to make the most of the limited word count they are given in this one chance to impress the Admissions Committee.

But wait, what word count? The last few years, Harvard has also done away with adding a word count to their essays, putting the decision of length for the school’s only essay in the hands of the applicant. I know this is HBS, and like most applicants you will probably want to share as much of your story in this essay as possible to convince the school of your merits, but this essay is more about how you can effectively communicate a response to an open-ended question in a concise and compelling fashion than it is about cramming every detail of your professional and personal life into one essay.

The best way to do this is to answer the question asked and only the question asked. Harvard is looking to get a response to the question they have asked for a reason – if they wanted additional information from you, they would have asked or will ask in other stages of the application process (through the application form, interview, etc.). As such, you’ll want to keep your response to this essay short.

Avoid responses that stray above 1,000 words and settle into the 500-750 word range, instead. An essay that is 1,000 or more words is almost a whopping 15-minutes when read aloud! Keep in mind the school’s guidance: “don’t overthink, overcraft, and overwrite.” This is literally the approach you should take here. HBS receives almost 9,000 applications every year – that is a lot of reading, so the further you stray over 1,000 words, the more of a disadvantage you put yourself at.

If you are struggling keeping your essay concise, make sure you are avoiding answering traditional MBA essay topics that are not actually being asked in the prompt. Often applicants get nervous if they do not have the opportunity to formally communicate common business school information like “Why HBS?” or “Why MBA?”. Avoid this temptation and respond to the prompt in a concise, authentic, and compelling fashion to give yourself the best chance of success in crafting your Harvard application essay.

For more tips on applying to Harvard Business School, check out our Essential Guide to Top Business Schools.

Applying to Harvard or other business schools? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

How NOT to Write the Equation of a Line on the GMAT

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomA question brought an interesting situation to our notice. Let’s start by asking a question: How do we write the equation of a line? There are two formulas:

y = mx + c (where m is the slope and c is the y-intercept)
and
yy1 = m * (xx1) [where m is the slope and (x1,y1) is a point on the line]

We also know that m = (y2y1)/(x2x1) – this is how we find the slope given two points that lie on a line. The variables are x1, y1 and x2, y2, and they represent specific values.

But think about it, is m = (y2y)/(xx1) really the equation of a line? Let’s further clarify this idea using a GMAT practice question:

In the coordinate plane, line k passes through the origin and has slope 2. If points (3,y) and (x,4) are on line k, then x + y =

(A) 3.5
(B) 7 
(C) 8
(D) 10
(E) 14

We have been given that the line passes through (0, 0) and has a slope of 2. We can find the equation of the line from this information.

y = mx + c
y = 2x + 0 (Since the line passes through (0, 0), its y-intercept is 0 – when x is 0, y is also 0.)
y = 2x

Since we are given two other points, (3, y) and (x, 4), on the line and we have a slope of 2, many test-takers will be tempted to make another equation for the line using this information.

(4 – y)/(x – 3) = 2
(4 – y) = 2*(x – 3)
Thus, 2+ y = 10

Here, test-takers will use the two equations to solve for x and y and get x = 5/2 and y = 5.

After adding x and y together, they then wonder why 7.5 is not one of the answer choices. If this were an actual GMAT question, it is quite likely that 7.5 would have been one of the options. So all in all, the test-taker would not even have realized that he or she made a mistake, and would choose 7.5 as the (incorrect) answer.

The error is conceptual here. Note that the equation of the line, 2x + y = 10, is not the same as the equation we obtained above, y = 2x. They represent two different lines, but we have only a single line in the question. So which is the actual equation of that line?

To get the second equation, we have used m = (y2y)/(xx1). But is this really the equation of a line? No. This formula doesn’t have y and x, the generic variables for the x– and y-coordinates in the equation of a line.

To further clarify, instead of x and y, try using the variables a and b in the question stem and see if it makes sense:

“In the coordinate plane, line k passes through the origin and has slope 2. If points (3, a) and (b, 4) are on line k, then a + b =”

You can write (4 – a)/(b – 3) = 2 and this would be correct. But can we solve for both a and b here? No – we can write one of them in terms of the other, but we can’t get their exact values.

We know a and b must have specific values. (3, a) is a point on the line y = 2x. For x = 3, the value of of the y-coordinate, a, will be y = 2*3 = 6. Therefore, a = 6.

(b, 4) is also on the line y = 2x. So if the y-coordinate is 4, the x-coordinate, b, will be 4 = 2b, i.e. b = 2. Thus, a + b = 6 + 2 = 8, and our answer is C.

This logic remains the same even if the variables used are x and y, although test-takers often get confused because of it. Let’s solve the question in another way using the variables as given in the original question.

Recall what we have learned about slope in the past. If the slope of the line is 2 and the point (0, 0) lies on the line, the value of y – if point (3, y) also lies on the line – will be 6 (a slope of 2 means a 1-unit increase in x will lead to a 2-unit increase in y).

Again, if point (x, 4) lies on the line too, an increase of 4 in the y-coordinate implies an increase of 2 in the x-coordinate. So x will be 2, and again, x + y = 2 + 6 = 8.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

Pre-Calculus Tutoring for High School Students

stressed-studentThe study of pre-calculus introduces high school students to a variety of topics, including functions, sequences, series, and more. If you’re a student taking a pre-calculus course, it’s likely that you’ll move on to a more challenging level of calculus with each passing year. You may even continue to take these classes right through college. Pre-calculus tutoring can prove very helpful as you go about learning the fundamentals of this type of math.

Review some specific ways you can benefit from studying with a pre-calculus tutor to discover why it could be right for you:

Build a Solid Foundation
When it comes to this type of math, pre-calculus tutors can help you to build a solid foundation of understanding. For instance, you and your tutor can discuss daily lessons from your high school class to make sure you understand all of the concepts. You have the chance to ask your tutor questions about chapters in the textbook, tricky topics, and specific exercises. The answers you receive may make a puzzling lesson easier to understand. When you study with a pre-calculus tutor, you are establishing a strong foundation of understanding that you will need for success as you progress in the study of calculus.

Get Help With Homework Assignments
It’s not unusual for high school students who are taking pre-calculus to have difficulty completing all of the problems in a homework assignment. Fortunately, if you’re working with a tutor, you have someone you can partner with to solve challenging problems contained in your homework. Furthermore, your tutor can practice various types of pre-calculus problems with you to ensure that you understand the concept behind each problem. It’s important that you understand the lessons as well as the homework assignments given to you in your pre-calculus class. Each lesson conveyed by your teacher builds on skills you learned in previous lessons.

Approach Exercises in an Effective Way
Another excellent benefit of pre-calculus tutoring is that you are able to learn what you need to know in the most effective way for you. Experienced pre-calculus tutors understand the importance of conducting a tutoring session in a student’s own learning style. Your Veritas Prep pre-calculus tutor will take the time to become familiar with your learning style, so when you need an explanation of a difficult concept or you encounter an especially challenging problem, your tutor will know the most effective approach to take with you. When lessons are delivered to you in your learning style, it adds value to all of your tutoring sessions.

Learn What to Expect in AP Calculus
You may be working your way through a pre-calculus class with plans to take an AP calculus course later on in high school. This makes it all the more critical that you fully understand the material in your pre-calculus class. A professional tutor can help you to gain that level of understanding of the subject. In addition, you may want to take the AP Calculus AB or BC exam at a future date, and a tutor can help you reach and succeed at that goal. Achieving a high score on an AP exam can impress college officials who are looking for motivated students. Also, in some cases, a high AP exam score can earn you college credit, leaving room in your schedule for other interesting courses.

Study With an Experienced Instructor
At Veritas Prep, our capable tutors are our most valuable resources. We can help you do your best work in your high school pre-calculus class or prep you for the AP Calculus AB or BC exam. We hire tutors who have mastered the subjects they teach, so you know you’ll be working with a pre-calculus tutor who has navigated their way through the subject of calculus from the bottom up! Having confidence in your tutor is another factor that lends to the effectiveness of your sessions.

We have an appealing selection of tutoring options available to you at Veritas Prep. Choose the option with the amount of instructional hours that will help your achieve your goals for pre-calculus and calculus, and choose your setting, too, since we offer both online and in-person tutoring services. Contact us via email or phone today to start studying pre-calculus with the experts.

Do you need more help preparing for college? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

The International Learning Opportunities Available to You in Business School

Passport Number 2Business schools have placed an increasing emphasis on global training to prepare students for the international nature of business today. To do this, schools have implemented a diverse set of programs aimed at the global business landscape. Let’s explore a few different program options currently available for students interested in cultivating a deeper understanding of international business:

Study Abroad
One of the best ways to immerse oneself in an international market is to study abroad. Taking part in a study abroad program will not only allow you spend some time in an international market to better understand its customs and business culture, but it will also allow you to study business more in a more formal setting. In addition, the networking opportunities available via study abroad programs can help students cultivate a strong international network of like-minded business professionals.

International Immersion Programs
The second-best option to studying abroad is engaging in an international-themed business immersion, such as a global lab program. These programs offer tailored training on specific topical areas, and often in collaboration with a specific business in-country. They also often include an in-country component where students actually spend time in the country they are studying solving a specific business problem or learning more about the region through company visits, alumni chats, and government briefings.

Language Study
Another great way to prepare for a career in international business is to learn or refine your skills in a foreign language. Many programs now offer training in a foreign language, either through a sponsoring undergrad program or an external company like Berlitz. For students interested in studying abroad, language study can be a natural precursor to this. For many international, post-MBA roles, a competency in a foreign language can be a requirement, so spending time developing this skill can be very advantageous for the recruiting process.

International Classes
In recent years, business schools have done a great job increasing the amount of coursework they offer (and sometimes even require) around international business. These classes can provide some nice academic training and knowledge in key functional areas like international marketing, international finance, and global markets. Taking international courses during your time at business school can help prepare you for a career working abroad or in international-themed roles at a global company.

Business schools offer a wealth of international learning opportunities – make the most of your two years pursuing your MBA by preparing for a changing global marketplace.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

3 Common Mistakes MBA Applicants Make Choosing Essay Topics

Law School Applicant SurveyOne of the most undervalued steps in the business school essay-writing process is to make sure it the essay ties in with each component of the MBA application – the essays, CV, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and GMAT scores. In the process and stress of making the major life decision of attending business school, many applicants often anchor their essays by one of the common factors below, and thus, lose out on presenting a stronger overall profile.

Let’s examine these mistakes one by one:

Professional Domain
A candidate’s pre-MBA industry, company, and job function are all important, so it is understandable that these may become top of mind when brainstorming for examples and highlights to include in your essay. When it comes to the MBA essay, however, it is always best to consider mixing in different elements of your life experiences – ones that would help complement your resume and not just elaborate on what the reader will already glean from it.

Extracurricular activities, especially those that are not related to your profession, help show a multidimensional personality, so it would be wise to discuss the ones you are involved with in your essays. For instance, an accomplished banker with excellent academics may be better off sharing leadership experiences with his mountain hiking group rather than detailing how he was able to do well in the CFA exams. In this case, valuable space in the essays can be better used to show additional dimensions to the applicant’s profile.

Most Performed Activity
Another common error, especially when creating your resume and even preparing for your interview, is to focus on the activities you perform most frequently. As critical as operational and maintenance tasks are, it would be better to play up more attention-grabbing tasks. For example, it would be better to showcase how you led the financial review for your company’s new distribution model or new product lines than to describe the regular payroll disbursements you assist with.

In short, when asked to describe what you do, it is not always best to prioritize your activities by the number of hours you spend on them. Instead, choose the ones that would be the most exciting to discuss, and the ones that will highlight more of your strengths.

Technical Accomplishments
Applicants from technical fields typically want to share their most technically challenging work. Sharing complexity does demonstrate deep expertise, and that your company trusts you to take on tremendous responsibilities, however you must also consider if there are better examples that would better showcase your experiences with collaboration and leadership.

Remember, the MBA is geared towards developing your ability to work with people, whether it is through motivating teams of people, mentoring individuals, or managing challenging relationships. Thus, details on your technical accomplishments should be shared in a way that is understandable to non-industry readers. Details on these more technical achievements should be descriptive enough to show impact and expertise, but concise enough that you still have room to display the key transferable skills you learned from this accomplishment, such as leadership and teamwork.

Following the tips above should help you decide how to use the limited space in your MBA application package and present a complete picture of your unique personality.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! And as always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD. You can read more articles by him here

3 Formats for GMAT Inequalities Questions You Need to Know

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomAs if solving inequalities wasn’t already hard enough, sometimes the way a GMAT question is framed will make us wonder which answer option to choose, even after we have already solved solved the problem.

Let’s look at three different question formats today to understand the difference between them:

  1. Must Be True
  2. Could Be True
  3. Complete Range

Case 1: Must Be True
If |-x/3 + 1| < 2, which of the following must be true?
(A) x > 0
(B) x < 8
(C) x > -4
(D) 0 < x < 3
(E) None of the above

We have two linked inequalities here. One is |-x/3 + 1| < 2 and the other is the correct answer choice. We need to think about how the two are related.

We are given that |-x/3 + 1| < 2. So we know that x satisfies this inequality. That will give us the universe which is relevant to us. x will take one of those values only. So let’s solve this inequality. (We will not focus on how to solve the inequality in this post – it has already been discussed here. We will just quickly show the steps.)

|x/3 – 1| < 2
(1/3) * |x – 3| < 2
|x – 3| < 6

The distance of x from 3 is less than 6, so -3 < x < 9. Now we know that every value that x can take will lie within this range.

The question now becomes: what must be true for each of these values of x? Let’s assess each of our answer options with this question:

(A) x > 0
Will each of the values of x be positive? No – x could be a negative number greater than -3, such as -2.

(B) x < 8
Will each of the values of x be less than 8? No – x could be a number between 8 and 9, such as 8.5

(C) x > -4
Will each of the values of x be more than -4? Yes! x will take values ranging from -3 to 9, and each of the values within that range will be greater than -4. So this must be true.

(D) 0 < x < 3
Will each of these values be between 0 and 3. No – since x can take any of the values between -3 and 9, not all of these will be just between 0 and 3.

Therefore, the answer is C (we don’t even need to evaluate answer choice E since C is true).

Case 2: Could Be True
If −1 < x < 5, which is the following could be true?
(A) 2x > 10
(B) x > 17/3
(C) x^2 > 27
(D) 3x + x^2 < −2
(E) 2x – x^2 < 0

Again, we have two linked inequalities, but here the relation between them will be a bit different. One of the inequalities is  −1 < x < 5 and the other will be the correct answer choice.

We are given that -1 < x < 5, so x lies between -1 and 5. We need an answer choice that “could be true”. This means only some of the values between -1 and 5 should satisfy the condition set by the correct answer choice – all of the values need not satisfy. Let’s evaluate our answer options:

(A) 2x > 10
x > 5
No values between -1 and 5 will be greater than 5, so this cannot be true.

(B) x > 17/3
x > 5.67
No values between -1 and 5 will be greater than 5.67, so this cannot be true.

(C) x^2 > 27
x^2 – 27 > 0
x > 3*√(3) or x < -3*√(3)
√(3) is about 1.73 so 3*1.73 = 5.19. No value of x will be greater than 5.19. Also, -3*1.73 will be -5.19 and no value of x will be less than that. So this cannot be true.

(Details on how to solve such inequalities are discussed here.)

(D) 3x + x^2 < −2
x^2 + 3x + 2 < 0
(x + 1)(x + 2) < 0
-2 < x < -1
No values of x will lie between -2 and -1, so this also cannot be true.

(E) 2x – x^2 < 0
x * (x – 2) > 0
x > 2 or x < 0
If -1 < x < 5, then x could lie between -1 and 0 (x < 0 is possible) or between 2 and 5 (x > 2 is possible). Therefore, the correct answer is E.

Case 3: Complete Range
Which of the following represents the complete range of x over which x^3 – 4x^5 < 0?
(A) 0 < |x| < ½
(B) |x| > ½
(C) -½ < x < 0 or ½ < x
(D) x < -½ or 0 < x < ½
(E) x < -½ or x > 0

We have two linked inequalities, but the relation between them will be a bit different again. One of the inequalities is  x^3 – 4x^5 < 0 and the other will be the correct answer choice.

We are given that x^3 – 4x^5 < 0. This inequality can be solved to:

x^3 ( 1 – 4x^2) < 0
x^3*(2x + 1)*(2x – 1) > 0
> 1/2 or -1/2 < x < 0

This is our universe of the values of x. It is given that all values of x lie in this range.

Here, the question asks us the complete range of x. So we need to look for exactly this range. This is given in answer choice C, and therefore C is our answer.

We hope these practice problems will help you become able to distinguish between the three cases now.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

Investing in Success: The Best In-Person or Online GMAT Tutors Can Make a Difference

ProfessorMaking sure that you’re ready to take the GMAT requires study, time, and effort. Earning a high score on the GMAT can help to impress admissions officials at preferred business schools. One way to make the studying process easier is to work with a private GMAT tutor. A tutor can help you prep for the test in a variety of ways. Naturally, you want to find the tutor who can be the most help to you. Discover some of the qualities to look for when there’s a GMAT tutor needed to complete your study plan.

Knowledge of All Aspects of the GMAT
The best private GMAT tutor has more than just general advice regarding the GMAT. The person has thorough knowledge of the exam and its contents. There are several parts to the GMAT, including the Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing sections. A qualified tutor will have plenty of tips to share that can help you to navigate all of the sections on the GMAT.
Plus, an experienced tutor will be able to evaluate the results of your practice GMAT to determine where you need to focus most of your study efforts. This puts the element of efficiency into your test prep.

The GMAT instructors at Veritas Prep achieved scores on the exam that placed them in the 99th percentile, so if you work with a Veritas Prep tutor, you know you’re studying with someone who has practical experience with the exam. Our tutors are experts at describing the subtle points of the GMAT to their students.

Access to Quality Study Resources
If you want to thoroughly prepare for the GMAT, you must use quality study materials. At Veritas Prep, we have a GMAT curriculum that guides you through each section of the test. Your instructor will show you the types of questions on the test and reveal proven strategies you can use to answer them correctly. Of course, our curriculum teaches you the facts you need to know for the test. But just as importantly, we show you how to apply those facts to the questions on the exam. We do this in an effort to help you think like a business executive as you complete the GMAT. Private tutoring services from Veritas Prep give you the tools you need to perform your best on the exam.

Selecting Your Method of Learning
The best GMAT tutors can offer you several options when it comes to preparing for the exam. Perhaps you work full-time as a business professional. You want to prepare for the GMAT but don’t have the time to attend traditional courses. In that case, you should search for an online GMAT tutor. As a result, you can prep for the GMAT without disrupting your busy work schedule. At Veritas Prep, we provide you with the option of online tutoring as well as in-person classes. We recognize that flexibility is important when it comes to preparing for the GMAT, and we want you to get the instruction you need to earn a high score on this important test.

An Encouraging Instructor
Naturally, when you take advantage of GMAT private tutoring services, you will learn information you need to know for the test. But a tutor should also take the time to encourage you as you progress in your studies. It’s likely that you’ll face some stumbling blocks as you prepare for the different sections of the GMAT. A good instructor must be ready with encouraging words when you’re trying to master difficult skills.

Encouraging words from a tutor can give you the push you need to conquer especially puzzling questions on the test. The understanding tutors at Veritas Prep have been through preparation for the GMAT as well as the actual test, so we understand the tremendous effort it takes to master all of its sections.

If you want to partner with the best GMAT tutor as you prep for the test, we have you covered at Veritas Prep! When you sign up to study for the GMAT with Veritas Prep, you are investing in your own success. Give us a call or write us an email today to let us know when you want to start gearing up for excellence on the GMAT!

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

3 Things to Avoid When Crafting a Thank You Note

writing essayKnowing how to write a great thank you note will really come in handy during your business school journey – you’ll send them to recommenders to thank them for writing your letters of recommendation, to school representatives you encounter during campus visits, and to company representatives you meet during corporate presentations while at school. There are definitely some things you should avoid doing, however, when crafting these notes.

(Before diving into what not to do, be sure to take a look at Part 1 of this lesson: 3 Ways to Write a Successful Thank You Note.)

Do not copy and paste thank you emails and send them to multiple people. This should be a given, but unfortunately, I don’t think it is. When you copy and paste, the format of your email sometimes gets messed up, but you won’t realize it. Only the reader will notice, and it just looks tacky if the only thing you changed is the recipient’s name. This also goes back to authenticity – it’s hard to create an authentic email if you end up sending the same message to multiple people.

Do not add people on LinkedIn. This is especially true for admissions officers (and corporate recruiters once you start interviewing for internships and jobs). Admissions officers do not want to be connected to thousands of prospective students who they may or may not remember, and who may or may not end up at their school. If you have a really great conversation with an alumnus or a current student, feel free to ask them in person if it is alright to add them on LinkedIn. Chances are they will say yes, but they will appreciate the gesture before you just go home, find them on the internet, and add them into your network because you think they have something to offer you.

Do not freak out if they don’t respond to you. The people you are meeting are incredibly busy. Put yourself in their shoes – if you met them on the road, it is very likely that they have other events and cities that they are traveling to before going home to get back to their work and catch up on everything that happened since they left.

Next time you go to a recruiting event, keep in mind the conversations you are having and make sure to follow these tips as you write those thank you emails. Good luck in the admissions process!

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Colleen Hill is a Veritas Prep consultant for the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. You can read more articles by her here

GMAT Integrated Reasoning Practice: Sample Questions and Prep Tips

QuestioningOn one section of the GMAT, you’ll encounter Integrated Reasoning questions. These questions test your ability to solve problems using several forms of data. Though you’ve found plenty of advice on studying for the GMAT, you may feel a little concerned about these particular questions. Consider some information about the nature of these questions, then learn how to prep for them with our help.

Take a Timed Practice Test
One way you can get GMAT Integrated Reasoning practice is to take a timed practice test. When you take the entire test or a set of GMAT Integrated Reasoning practice questions, you get an idea of what to expect on test day. More importantly, your results will reveal which skills need improvement.

Timing yourself is an important factor when taking a practice test. You get just 30 minutes to complete the 12 Integrated Reasoning questions on the GMAT. Establishing a reasonable testing pace can lower your stress level and help you to finish all of the questions in the allotted time. At Veritas Prep, we have a free GMAT test that you can take advantage of for this purpose.

Get Into the Mindset of a Business Executive
Taking the GMAT is one of the steps necessary on your path to business school, so it makes perfect sense that the GMAT gauges your skills in business. One of the best prep tips you can follow is to complete all GMAT Integrated Reasoning sample questions with the mindset of a business executive. Think of the questions as real-life scenarios that you will encounter in your business career. Taking this approach allows you to best highlight your skills to GMAT scorers.

Become Familiar With the Question Formats
As you tackle a set of GMAT Integrated Reasoning sample questions, you’ll see that there are a few different question formats – Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, Multi-Source Reasoning, and Table Analysis are the different types of questions on the GMAT.

The Graphics Interpretation questions feature a chart, graph, or diagram. For instance, you may see a question that features a bar chart that asks you to answer two questions based on the data in the chart. Other graphics you may see include scatterplots, pie charts, bubble charts, and line charts.

Two-Part Analysis problems involve a chart with three columns of data and accompanying questions. One tip to remember about these questions is that you have to answer the first question presented before you tackle the second one because the answers will work together in some way. Multi-Source Reasoning questions contain a lot of data. These questions test your ability to combine the data contained in different graphs, formulas, and diagrams to arrive at the correct answer choice. Table Analysis questions ask you to look at a table that may contain four or more columns of data. You have to examine this data closely to answer the questions.

Practice Working With Different Types of Graphs and Diagrams
Effective GMAT Integrated Reasoning practice involves learning the details about the different types of graphs, charts, and diagrams featured on the test. Financial magazines and newspapers are great resources for different graphics that you may see on the GMAT. Take some time to make sure you understand the purpose behind various graphs and charts so you feel at ease with them on test day.

Work With a Capable Tutor
When studying for the section on Integrated Reasoning, GMAT practice questions can be very useful. Another way to boost your preparation for this section is to partner with an experienced tutor. The instructors at Veritas Prep follow a thorough GMAT curriculum as they prep you for Integrated Reasoning questions as well as the other questions on the exam. We provide you with proven test-taking strategies and show you how to showcase what you know on the GMAT. With our guidance, you can move through each section of the test with confidence.

The professional tutors at Veritas Prep have the skills and knowledge to prepare you for the section on Integrated Reasoning. GMAT questions in all of the sections are easier to navigate after working through our unique GMAT curriculum. We offer both online and in-person courses, so you can choose the option that best suits your schedule. Contact our offices today and get first-rate prep for the GMAT!

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

3 Ways to Write a Successful Thank You Note

HandshakeThe University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business recently hosted hundreds of prospective students through their Up Close Diversity Weekend and Women in Leadership Conference events. I spoke with a handful of excited prospective students and most of them remembered my name and found ways to email me thank you notes, which was great – definitely write thank you emails! But there are ways to write and not to write these important emails, so listen up.

Whenever you meet a school representative at an event – whether that be an admissions officer, alumni, or a current student – you should always send them a note to say thank you. It is a good idea to get in the habit of doing this now because once you get to business school, you will also need to send thank you notes after conferences, corporate presentations, coffee chats, etc., and if you can get the hang of crafting these quickly now, it will only save you time later.

Here are a few tips to writing a successful thank you note:

Do write meaningful thank you notes. The people you meet are likely meeting dozens of other prospective students too, so be sincere and authentic in your communications. Don’t say thank you because you have to, but make the content of your email somewhat substantial. Make sure to ask good questions and get to know the people you’re chatting with so you can have something to write about in your follow up email.

Do include the details of how you met. Because they are meeting so many others, include how and where you met, and a little bit about what you talked about. You can do this by saying something along the lines of, “It was so great to meet you during dinner at the Up Close Weekend and hear more about your project work with the Business Impact Group.” It is helpful to include this so that they remember who you are and can match the name from your email to the face they spoke with at the event.

Do ask a follow up question, but only if your conversation prompted one. If not, don’t feel compelled to ask anything. Sometimes it is best to end the email with saying you’ll be in touch, rather than ending on a question.

If you had a conversation about a certain club on campus that sounded interesting to you but you don’t remember the name, however, feel free to ask and see if you can get in touch with someone from that club. For example, a question such as, “You mentioned the new club on campus that works on consultant teams with social enterprises. I’d love to learn more about that. Can you please remind me of the name, and possibly put me in touch with someone involved with that club?” would be appropriate to ask in your thank you email and show that you were truly interested in the conversation you had with that person.

Follow these tips and you’ll be able to quickly write a successful thank you email that may make a big impact on the way you are viewed by a school.

Stay tuned for our next article, 3 Things to Avoid When Crafting a Thank You Note.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Colleen Hill is a Veritas Prep consultant for the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. You can read more articles by her here

The Online GRE Math Study Guide: Help and Practice Tips for the GRE Math Section

books_stackedThe Graduate Record Exam (GRE) contains three parts; the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing sections. The Quantitative section of the GRE tests students on a variety of math skills. Many students contact our staff at Veritas Prep when they want a little help preparing for this section of the test. Our knowledgeable instructors use first-rate study resources to guide students through the process of preparing for the Quantitative, as well as the other sections on the test.

Check out this GRE math study guide for tips that can simplify questions in the Quantitative or math section:

Take Practice Exams
When it comes to GRE math practice, online exams can prove very useful to students. Taking a practice test lets a student know what types of problems to expect on the actual test, and the results of a practice test reveal what a student needs to work on. Students who have this information are better able to make efficient use of their study time. Our instructors review practice tests with students and suggest specific ways that they can improve on various skills. Our Veritas Prep instructors partner with their students to provide the best GRE math prep available!

Plugging in the Numbers
One of the easiest strategies that students can use when tackling the Quantitative section of the GRE is to approach a problem starting with the answer options. For instance, an algebra question may come in the form of an equation that asks a student to find the value of X. A student can plug each of the answer options into the equation in place of X. The number that completes the equation is the correct answer option. This strategy proves especially helpful when a student works a problem in the traditional way and finds that his or her answer is not one of the answer options.

Eliminating Answer Options
Students looking for GRE math help should endeavor to simplify each problem as much as possible. For example, after looking at a question and considering all of the multiple choice answer options, a student may notice that one or two of the answer options are obviously incorrect. The student can cross out or eliminate these answer options. This leaves the student with fewer options to consider and makes the problem more manageable. This test-taking technique can also be used on multiple choice questions in the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE.

Getting Into the Habit of Using Scrap Paper
Students should get into the habit of writing out all of the steps of a math problem on a sheet of scrap paper. This is one of those GRE math tips that many students are aware of, but decide not to put into practice; however, this tip can save a student a lot of time if there is a mistake somewhere in a problem. If a student’s answer is not displayed in the list of answer options, he or she can refer to the scrap paper and review the various steps of the problem. In addition, students should use scrap paper for drawing shapes referred to in a math question. Seeing a shape can sometimes prompt a student to figure out an answer more quickly than trying to visualize the shape.

Reviewing High School Math Problems
For students who want more GRE math practice, online exercises for high school students are an option. Many of the geometry and algebra skills tested in the Quantitative section are skills students learned in high school.

In addition to going online to complete practice math questions, a student can look in traditional math textbooks designed for high school students. This sort of prep helps students become familiar with working the steps of an algebra equation or successfully completing a geometry problem. Our professional instructors offer guidance and encouragement to students as they work their way through practice problems. We provide students with individualized help, so they can see great improvement as test day approaches.

Finally, students interested in learning the details about our services can look at our FAQ page to find helpful answers. We offer online courses that are convenient for individuals with busy school or work schedules. Veritas Prep has the best GRE math prep courses for students who want to enjoy success on the GRE!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

How Many Letters of Recommendation Should You Submit with Your MBA Applications?

RecommenderThere are many facets of the typical business school application. Application components like one’s GMAT score, resume, and essays always garner a strong amount of attention from applicants year in and year out. These components tend to have a pretty straightforward submission process. When it comes to procuring letters of  recommendation, however, both the formal and informal submission processes may be less clear.

The formal recommendation process is a bit more straightforward than the informal process, so let us start there. Letters of recommendation require you to identify recommenders whom you feel can accurately speak to your work and contributions in an organization. Their recommendations are then formally submitted through the school’s application tool, and the Admissions Committee reviews them as part of your overall application assessment.

Now here is where things get tricky – most schools strongly discourage additional recommendations. I would guess the reason is because most admissions departments are already overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork and communication they receive from applicants, and anything additional might be tough for them to maintain, track, and evaluate. Also, more practically, allowing for additional recommendations would create an uneven playing field for MBA candidates – some applicants would submit additional letters of recommendation while others would not be able to (for a variety of reasons).

Now, not all schools have this policy and some even welcome additional recommendations, so read the fine print and identify whether there is an opportunity for you to send in additional letters of recommendation or not. If this option is available to you, using your discretion will be key. This should not be seen as an opportunity to just submit more of the same types of recommendations. If you are going to submit an additional letter of recommendation, it should really be a “letter of support”.

These additional recommendations should only be submitted if they are coming from highly visible, impactful, or unique people. The best examples of this are alumni or high-profile individuals who can speak to your business potential. Alumni tend to be a group that the Admissions Committee likes to hear from – alumni letters of recommendation should generally be submitted directly by the alumnus and be short and to the point.

As for letters of recommendation from high-profile people, these are far less well-received, especially if the person doesn’t have much of a relationship with the applicant. In most cases, if the relationship was actually strong, the person probably would have already been the applicant’s main recommender.

However, if the relationship is legit and if the person has considerable sway with the university, the program, or in the general business community, this type of recommendation can be really positive. The business school admissions process is very holistic, so schools will take information like this into consideration.

Now, if you are just not a qualified applicant, even the best of recommendations will not save your candidacy. For those fringe candidates, however, a great letter of recommendation can make or break an application.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

How to Study Abroad in College

study aboard girlHigh school seniors who are researching colleges are smart to look at all that a school has to offer. Most students look at the specific study programs offered by a college, as well as its campus activities and various academic resources. Also, many students like to find out if a college offers opportunities to study abroad. College students can learn a lot by spending a semester or more living and studying in another country.

Consider some helpful information for students who want to know how to study abroad in college:

Conduct a Search for Colleges That Offer Students the Chance to Study Abroad
Fortunately, there are many opportunities for today’s college students who want to study abroad. High school seniors who are thinking about studying abroad, but are still unsure, should go ahead and apply to colleges that offer the option. That way, if they do decide to study abroad, they’re at a school that can make that happen.

Often, colleges that offer this study opportunity provide information on their website. Some schools create short videos that give students a quick look at their international programs. Student testimonials can also help prospective students decide whether to participate in the program.

Our professional consultants at Veritas Prep help students to apply to colleges that offer invaluable opportunities, including the chance to study abroad. We have inside knowledge regarding what college officials are looking for as they evaluate students’ applications, letters of recommendation, essays, and other materials.

Tips for Deciding on a Location
England, Ireland, Australia, China, Africa, and Italy are just a sampling of the places that college students go to study for a semester or more. With all of the possibilities, it can be difficult for a student to decide where they want to go. One tip is to think about whether they want to study in a country with English as its native language. Of course, this is a moot issue if a student is traveling to a country to learn and practice a foreign language. But if a student is not studying a foreign language, they may feel more at ease in an English-speaking country.

Living arrangements are another consideration. Some study programs require students to live with host families, while others require them to live in dormitories. Students should consider whether they would be comfortable with the specified living arrangements during their stay.

Another thing to consider is how far a student wants to travel away from home. Some students want to be able to travel home fairly quickly, while others want to go to more remote locations. Many of the answers to these questions depend on a student’s personal preferences.

Benefits of Studying Abroad in College
Taking courses while living in a foreign country allows students to experience different cultures. Many students sign up for college study abroad programs because they want to learn about the arts, cuisine, and customs of people living in a particular country.

Another benefit of studying abroad is the opportunity to explore various interests that may lead to a future career. For example, a student who spends a semester studying in Kenya may feel inspired by seeing the various forms of wildlife there. As a result, the student might decide to pursue a career as a wildlife conservationist. And on a practical note, one of the biggest benefits of studying abroad is earning credits that count toward graduation.

When to Study Abroad in College
Some students who participate in study abroad travel to a foreign country during the regular school year, while others go during the summertime. The timing depends upon the study programs offered by a college. A student has to consider their own individual situation to determine the best time to study abroad. College students who participate in these programs are often willing to forgo their summer vacation or miss school activities during a semester so they can take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

No matter where you choose to study, our team at Veritas Prep can help you get there. We provide students with assistance throughout the process of applying to college. We also have services for students who want to prep for the SAT. Our online SAT tutors teach students using first-rate study resources and test-taking strategies. Contact our Veritas Prep offices today and let us help you achieve your goal of attending college and earning a degree.

Do you need more help with your college applications? Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

Using Special Formats on GMAT Variable Problems

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomIn today’s post, we will discuss some special formats when we assume variables on the GMAT. These will allow us to minimize the amount of manipulations and calculations that are required to solve certain Quant problems.

Here are some examples:

An even number: 2a
Logic: It must be a multiple of 2.

An odd number: (2a + 1) or (2a – 1)
Logic: It will not be a multiple of 2. Instead, it will be 1 more (or we can say 1 less) than a multiple of 2.

Two consecutive integers: 2a, (2a + 1) or (2a – 1), 2a
Logic: One number will be even and the other will be the next odd number (or the other way around).

Four consecutive odd numbers: (2a – 3), (2a – 1), (2a + 1), (2a + 3)
In this case, the sum of the numbers comes out to be a clean 8a. This can be very useful in many cases.

Five consecutive even numbers: (2a – 4), (2a – 2), 2a, (2a + 2), (2a + 4)
In this case, the sum of the numbers comes out to be a clean 10a. This can also be very useful in many cases.

A prime number: (6a+1) / (6a – 1)
Every prime number greater than 3 is of the form (6a + 1) or (6a – 1). Note, however, that every number of this form is not prime.

Three consecutive numbers:
If we know one number is even and the other two are odd, we will have: (2a – 1), 2a, (2a + 1).
Logic: They add up to give 6a.
In a more generic case, we will have: 3a, (3a+1), (3a+2).
This gives us some important information. It tells us that one of the numbers will definitely be a multiple of 3 and the other two numbers will not be. Note that the numbers can be in a different order such as (3a + 1), (3a + 2) and (3a + 3). (3a + 3) can be written as 3b, so the three numbers will still have the same properties.

Basically, try to pick numbers in a way that will make it easy for you to manage them. Remember, three numbers do not need to be a, b and c – there could be, and in fact often are, several other hints which will give you the relations among the numbers.

Now, let’s see how picking the right format of these numbers can be helpful using a 700-level GMAT question:

The sum of four consecutive odd numbers is equal to the sum of 3 consecutive even numbers. Given that the middle term of the even numbers is greater than 101 and lesser than 200, how many such sequences can be formed?

(A) 12
(B) 17
(C) 25
(D) 33
(E) 50

Let’s have the four consecutive odd numbers be the following, where “a” is any integer: (2a – 3), (2a – 1), (2a + 1), (2a + 3)

The sum of these numbers is: (2a – 3) + (2a – 1) + (2a + 1) + (2a + 3) = 8a

Now let’s have the three consecutive even numbers be the following, where “b” is any integer: (2b – 2), 2b, (2b + 2)

The sum of these numbers is: (2b – 2) + 2b + (2b + 2) = 6b

Note here that instead of 2a, we used 2b. There is no reason that the even numbers would be right next to the odd numbers, hence we used different variables so that we don’t establish relations that don’t exist between these seven numbers.

We are given that the sum 8a is equal to the sum 6b.

8a = 6b, or a/b = 3/4, where a and b can be any integers. So “a” has to be a multiple of 3 and “b” has to be a multiple of 4.

With this in mind, possible solutions for a and b are:

a = 3, b = 4;
a = 6, b = 8;
a = 9, b = 12
etc.

We are also given that the middle term of the even numbers is greater than 101 and less than 200.

So 101 < 2b < 200, i.e. 50.5 < b < 100.

B must be an integer, hence, 51 ≤ b ≤ 99.

Also, b has to be a multiple of 4, so the values that b can take are 52, 56, 60, 64 … 96

The number of values b can take = (Last term – First term)/Common Difference + 1 = (96 – 52)/4 + 1 = 12

For each of these 12 values of b, there will be a corresponding value of a and, hence, we will get 12 such sequences. Therefore, the answer to our question is A.

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Veritas Prep Team!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all that is good in your life, reflect on the past year… and become truly stressed out. Between attempting to cook the perfect Thanksgiving meal, devising your plan of attack for Black Friday shopping, setting out your holiday decorations (Didn’t we just finish Halloween?), and mentally preparing yourself to face family members you may or may not be excited to see, add to that the stress of planning for your educational future.

At Veritas Prep, we’d like to make your holidays a bit less stressful by offering you our largest discounts of the year for Black Friday: beginning November 25, for an entire week, you can save up to $1,000 on test prep and admissions consulting services from Veritas Prep! This sale ends Friday, December 2 so check out our discounts here and take advantage of the savings before it’s too late!

From everyone at Veritas Prep, we’d like to take this time to express how thankful we are for our fantastic students, instructors, admissions consultants, and staff that we are lucky to be able to work with every day. We hope that wherever you are in the world, you have a wonderful holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

10 Tips to Creating an Effective GRE Study Plan

help - wordsCreating a GRE study plan is one way a student can thoroughly prepare for this exam. A study plan helps a student to stay organized and absorb all of the necessary material.

Take a look at ten tips for creating a GRE study plan that can contribute to a student’s confidence level on test day.

1. Take a Practice Test
It’s important for students to take a practice GRE before creating a study plan. The results of this test reveal the subject areas (PDF) in need of the most improvement. Consequently, students can build a study plan that focuses on those subjects. At Veritas Prep, our GRE tutoring services include reviewing practice test results with students. Our online tutors provide students with strategies that help them to master questions in every section of the GRE.

2. Set a Target Score
Students should set a target score for the GRE. This gives them a concrete idea of what they are working to achieve. Of course, students who reach their target score on a practice test should continue preparing just as vigorously for the GRE. A student’s goal is to achieve and surpass his or her target score!

3. Create Study Tasks for Each Day of the Week
The best GRE study plans are the ones that include specific details. Students should plan to study at least ten hours per week. Many students prefer to study for two hours every weekday, leaving their weekends free. On Monday from 3:00 to 4:00 a student may work on completing ten sample geometry questions and ten algebra questions. From 4:00 to 5:00, the student memorizes twenty vocabulary words and their definitions. A detailed study plan allows a student to get down to work right away without having to decide what to do for the hour.

4. Choose an Optimal Study Time
Deciding when to study is part of making a study plan for GRE. Some students study best in the early morning, while others are more receptive in the evening. Students who take this self- knowledge into account are giving themselves an extra advantage as they prep for the GRE.

5. Get an Expert to Evaluate the Study Plan
Our instructors at Veritas Prep can evaluate a student’s study plan to see if any improvements can be made. All of our professional GRE tutors achieved high scores on the exam. This means that they have unique insight on the most effective ways to prep. In short, students have access to invaluable tips that make their study plan all the more effective.

6. Create Rewards for Meeting Small Goals
Most GRE study plans cover a period of months; that’s why it’s an excellent idea for students to reward themselves when they reach short term goals. For instance, a student may create a reward of going to a movie with a friend once he or she finishes memorizing fifty vocabulary words. These little incentives can refresh a student’s motivation.

7. Determine an Appropriate Place to Study
The right environment contributes to the effectiveness of study time. A student should choose an environment with very few people and no televisions, radios or other distractions. Some suggestions include a private study room at a library, a quiet room at home or an unoccupied picnic bench at a local park.

8. Factor Exceptions into a Study Plan
An effective study plan for GRE has the element of flexibility. Inevitably, things arise that will disrupt a student’s study time. If a student has to skip a weekday study session, he or she should reschedule those hours for the weekend. It’s best to makeup missed days whenever possible.

9. Set Aside Time for Quick Review
A week or two prior to test day, students should incorporate short review sessions into the plan. For instance, students may take thirty minutes out of a two hour study session to review with vocabulary flashcards. Or, they may use twenty minutes of study time to take a quick geometry quiz on basic concepts. These quick reviews can help them retain more material.

10. Don’t Forget the Night Before the Test
A study plan should include a student’s activities the night before the test. A student may want to make a note of items to put aside for the following morning, when to eat dinner and when to go to bed. A student’s activities the night before the test can set a positive tone for test day.

Our talented GRE instructors at Veritas Prep specialize in helping students prepare for this important exam. Our study resources and materials add to the quality of our courses. Contact our offices today and get the advantage on the GRE with Veritas Prep.

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

Assumption vs. Strengthen Critical Reasoning Questions: What’s the Difference?

GMATI had a discussion with a tutoring student the other day about the distinction between Assumption and Strengthen questions in the Critical Reasoning section. The two categories feel similar, after all. They are different, however, and the difference, as with most Critical Reasoning questions, lies mainly in the texture of the language that would be most appropriate for a correct answer in either category.

To illustrate, let’s take a simple argument: Dave opens a coffee shop in Veritasville called Dave’s Blends. According to surveys, Dave’s Blends has the best tasting coffee in the city. Therefore, Dave’s Blends will garner at least 50% the local market.

First, imagine that this is a simple Strengthen question. In order to strengthen this somewhat fanciful conclusion, we’re going to want strong language. For example: Virtually all coffee drinkers in Veritasville buy coffee daily from Dave’s. That’s a pretty good strengthener. The statement increases the likelihood that Dave’s Blends will dominate the local market. But an answer choice such as, “Some people buy coffee at Dave’s,” would be a lousy choice, as the fact that Dave’s has at least one customer is hardly a compelling reason to conclude that it will get to at least a 50% market share.

Now imagine that we take the same argument and make it an Assumption question. The first aforementioned answer choice is now much less appealing. Can we really assume that virtually everyone in town will get their coffee at Dave’s? Not really. If Dave’s has 51% of the market share, it doesn’t mean that virtually everyone gets their coffee there. But now consider the second answer choice – if we’re concluding that Dave’s will get at least half of the local market, we are assuming that some people will purchase coffee there, so now this would be a good answer.

The difference is that in a Strengthen question, we’re looking for new information that will make the conclusion more likely. In an Assumption question, we’re looking for what is true based on the conclusion.  Put another way, strong language (“virtually everyone”) is often desirable in a Strengthen question, whereas softer language (“some people”) is usually more desirable in an Assumption question.

Let’s see this in action with a GMAT practice question:

For most people, the left half of the brain controls linguistic capabilities, but some people have their language centers in the right half. When a language center of the brain is damaged, for example by a stroke, linguistic capabilities are impaired in some way. Therefore, people who have suffered a serious stroke on the left side of the brain without suffering any such impairment must have their language centers in the right half. 

Which of the following is an assumption on which the reasoning in the argument above depends?

(A) No part of a person’s brain that is damaged by a stroke ever recovers.
(B) Impairment of linguistic capabilities does not occur in people who have not suffered any damage to any language center of the brain.
(C) Strokes tend to impair linguistic capabilities more severely than does any other cause of damage to language centers in the brain.
(D) If there are language centers on the left side of the brain, any serious stroke affecting that side of the brain damages at least one of them.
(E) It is impossible to determine which side of the brain contains a person’s language centers if the person has not suffered damage to either side of the brain.

First, let’s break this argument down:

Conclusion: People who suffer a stroke on the left side of the brain and don’t’ suffer language impairment have language centers in the right half of the brain.

Premises: Most people have language centers on the left side of the brain, while some have them on the right. Damage impairs linguistic capabilities.

This is an Assumption question, so we’re looking for what is be true based on the way the premises lead to the conclusion. Put another way, softer language might be preferable here. Now let’s examine each of the answer choices:

(A) Notice the extreme language, “No part…ever recovers“. Can we really assume that? Of course not – some portion might recover. No good.

(B) We don’t know this. Imagine someone has a part of his or her brain removed and this part of the brain doesn’t contain a language center. Surely we can’t assume that this person will have no language impairment at all. No good.

(C) Again, notice the extreme language, “…more severely than other cause. Can we assume that a stroke is worse than every other kind of brain trauma? Of course not. No good.

(D) Now we’re talking. Here, we are given more generous language: damages at least one of them. “At least one” is a pretty low bar. Remember that the conclusion is that someone who suffers a left-brain stroke and doesn’t have language impairment must have language centers on the right side. Well, that only makes sense if there’s some damage somewhere on the left. This answer choice looks good.

(E) Notice again the extreme language, “…it is impossible“. There may be some other way to assess where the language centers are. No good.

Therefore, our answer is D.

Takeaway: Strengthen questions and Assumption questions are not identical. In a Strengthen question, we want a strong answer choice that will make a conclusion more likely. In an Assumption question we want a soft answer that is indisputable based on how the premises lead to the conclusion. Attention to details in the language (some vs. most vs. all) is the key.

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter!

By David Goldstein, a Veritas Prep GMAT instructor based in Boston. You can find more articles written by him here.

Quarter Wit, Quarter Wisdom: Beware of Sneaky Answer Choices on the GMAT!

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomTest-takers often ask for tips and short cuts to cut down the amount of work necessary to solve a GMAT problem. As such, the Testmaker might want to award the test-taker who pays attention to detail and puts in the required effort.

Today, we will look at an example of this concept – if it seems to be too easy, it is a trap!

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In the figure given above, the area of the equilateral triangle is 48. If the other three figures are squares, what is the perimeter, approximately, of the nine-sided shape they form?

(A) 8√(2)
(B) 24√(3)
(C) 72√(2)
(D) 144√(2)
(E) 384

The first thing I notice about this question is that we have an equilateral triangle. So I am thinking, the area = s^2 * √(3)/4 and/or the altitude = s*√(3)/2.

The irrational number in play is √(3). There is only one answer choice with √(3) in it, so will this be the answer?

Now, it actually makes me uncomfortable that  there is only one option with √(3). At first glance, it seems that the answer has been served to us on a silver plate. But the question format doesn’t seem very easy – it links two geometrical figures together. So I doubt very much that the correct answer would be that obvious.

The next step will be to think a bit harder:

The area of the triangle has √(3) in it, so the side would be a further square root of √(3). This means the actual irrational number would be the fourth root of 3, but we don’t have any answer choice that has the fourth root of 3 in it.

Let’s go deeper now and actually solve the question.

The area of the equilateral triangle = Side^2 * (√(3)/4) = 48

Side^2 = 48*4/√(3)
Side^2 = 4*4*4*3/√(3)
Side = 8*FourthRoot(3)

Now note that the side of the equilateral triangle is the same length as the sides of the squares, too. Hence, all sides of the three squares will be of length 8*FourthRoot(3).

All nine sides of the figure are the sides of squares. Hence:

The perimeter of the nine sided figure = 9*8*FourthRoot(3)
The perimeter of the nine sided figure =72*FourthRoot(3)

Now look at the answer choices. We have an option that is 72√(2). The other answer choices are either much smaller or much greater than that.

Think about it – the fourth root of 3 = √(√(3)) = √(1.732), which is actually very similar to √(2). Number properties will help you figure this out. Squares of smaller numbers (that are still greater than 1) are only a bit larger than the numbers themselves. For example:

(1.1)^2 = 1.21
(1.2)^2 = 1.44
(1.3)^2 = 1.69
(1.414)^2 = 2

Since 1.732 is close to 1.69, the √(1.732) will be close to the √(1.69), i.e. 1.3. Also, √(2) = 1.414. The two values are quite close, therefore, the perimeter is approximately 72√(2). This is the reason the question specifically requests the “approximate” perimeter.

We hope you see how the Testmaker could sneak in a tempting answer choice – beware the “easiest” option!

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

Online GMAT Verbal Practice: Samples and Questions to Guide Your Test Prep

writing essayThe Verbal section of the GMAT measures your ability to comprehend what you read, evaluate arguments, and change elements of sentences to make them correct. One way to prep for this section is to complete sample GMAT Verbal questions. Sample questions give you an idea of what you can expect when you sit down to take the exam. Learning the different types of problems you might encounter will help you to study for Verbal GMAT questions.

The Reading Comprehension Section
GMAT Verbal practice questions in the Reading Comprehension section require you to read a passage that’s followed by several multiple-choice questions. These questions may ask you to draw an inference or make a conclusion about what you read. Also, there are questions that gauge how well you understood statements made within the passage. A question on a GMAT Verbal practice test might start with, “The primary purpose of the passage is to …” or, “The author is critical of X for the following reasons … .” It’s important to carefully read and evaluate the passage before delving into the questions so you have the information you need to make the right choice.

Taking a GMAT Verbal practice test online is an excellent way to become familiar with the format as well as the content of these questions. Plus, tackling practice questions helps you to get into the habit of reading with the purpose of finding out just what the author is trying to say.

The Critical Reasoning Section
The Critical Reasoning section on the GMAT measures your ability to analyze and evaluate an argument. Practice questions on this topic may include a short argument or one that is several sentences long. There are several multiple-choice options for each question that follows the argument. One example of a typical question might start with, “This argument assumes that … .” Another example of a question you’ll likely encounter starts with, “This argument conveys the following … .” You’ll have to look closely at the points of an argument to determine what the author is trying to convey.

The Sentence Correction Section
To do well on GMAT Verbal practice test questions that deal with Sentence Correction, you must have a grasp of proper grammar and sentence structure. You must also recognize a sentence that conveys meaning in an effective way. Each question starts with a passage that includes an underlined portion. Your job is to consider each of the five options and choose the one that best completes the sentence. This requires you to look at various elements throughout the passage, such as verb tenses and noun usage as well as the use of “like” or “as.” The answer option you select must agree with the elements in the rest of the passage.

Preparing for the Verbal Section With a Professional Tutor
Completing lots of GMAT Verbal practice questions is one way to prepare for this portion of the test. Another way is to study with a tutor who scored in the 99th percentile on the exam. That’s exactly what we offer at Veritas Prep. Our talented instructors prep you for the test using our thorough GMAT curriculum. We teach you how to apply the facts and information you’ve learned so you arrive at the correct answer for each question. We also provide you with strategies, tips, and lessons that strengthen your higher-order thinking skills. These are skills you will need well after you conquer the GMAT. We move way beyond memorization of facts – we teach you to think like a business executive!

Wondering where to begin? You can take one of our GMAT practice tests for free. The results can highlight the skills you’ll need to work on before you sit down to take the actual computer-based test. Our GMAT prep courses are ideal if you want to interact with other students who are as determined as you are to master the exam. Or, if you prefer, you can take advantage of our private online tutoring services. We know you have a busy work schedule as well as family obligations, so we make it easy to study with an expert on the Verbal section as well as all of the other sections on the GMAT. Get in touch with us to begin preparing for the GMAT the right way!

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

GMAT Preparation That Works for You: Find Your Best Way to Prepare for the GMAT

GMATSo you’ve thought it over and have decided to take the GMAT. That’s great! The next step is to prep for the test.

Of course, not everyone prepares for a test in the same way. The goal is to find what works for you. One way to do that is to look at the different options available to you when it comes to preparing for GMAT questions.

In-Person Prep Courses
You could go with the traditional option and take a GMAT prep course in a classroom with an instructor as well as other students. This is an excellent choice if you enjoy participating in class discussions with other students who are as eager to learn as you. Also, if you benefit from hearing the questions and comments of others, then you may consider this the best way to prepare for the GMAT.

At Veritas Prep, we offer in-person courses taught by instructors who provide you with many GMAT preparation tips. All of our instructors earned a score on the GMAT that landed them in the 99th percentile. So when you learn from a Veritas Prep instructor, you’re learning from one of the best!

Preparing Online with a Tutor
Perhaps you’d prefer to go online to prepare for the GMAT. Test preparation can be completed one-on-one with a Veritas Prep tutor on the Internet. Some people find that they are able to focus better when studying online with a tutor. You’re bound to appreciate the option of choosing your own learning environment when you choose online tutoring. If this is the choice for you, the experienced online tutors at Veritas Prep stand ready to help you prepare for the GMAT.

Choosing the Best Environment for Online Learning
If you think that participating in tutoring sessions online is the best way to prepare for the GMAT, then you should decide on your optimal learning environment. Of course, whatever location you select must have Internet access. You may consider choosing a room in your home where you’ll have very few interruptions. However, if you live in a home that’s always overflowing with activity, you may want to reserve a room at a public library or ask to use a quiet room at your workplace instead. To get the most out of your tutoring sessions, you should choose to study in a place where you’ll be able to focus all of your attention on your online tutor and study resources.

Studying with a Friend or Going it Alone
The question of whether to study alone or with a friend may come up as you begin preparing for the GMAT. Well, having someone else around can end up helping or hurting you. For instance, perhaps you have a coworker who is also planning to take the GMAT and asks to study with you. If the two of you are good friends, you may find that you end up chatting about current events, family and work instead of preparing for GMAT questions. This is a perfect example of how studying with another person can hinder your progress.

Alternatively, studying GMAT vocabulary words can be more effective when done with another person. You can quiz one another on the definitions of words, or you can make up a vocabulary game that puts the element of competition into your study sessions. Along with your tutor, a study partner can give you encouragement as you absorb unfamiliar words and their meanings. You are the best judge of whether it would benefit you to study with a partner or study alone outside of your instructional sessions with Veritas Prep.

Along with online or in-person instruction, Veritas Prep has a variety of other resources available to you as prepare for the GMAT. One of the best places to start your GMAT prep is our free practice test. Your score will help reveal what you need to work on when it comes to mastering skills for the GMAT. We also have a free trial class that gives you a good idea of what to expect from our GMAT study program. Go ahead and check out all of the details regarding our professional GMAT tutoring services and give us a call today!

How to Send SAT Scores to Colleges

In a HurryStudents spend a lot of time preparing for the SAT before the big day finally arrives. After test day has come and gone, the next step is sending SAT scores to colleges. Students want to make sure that colleges receive their scores along with the rest of their application information. Though testing officials are responsible for sending out SAT scores, students do have some say in the process. Discover how to send SAT scores to colleges here, and get some tips on how to prep for the exam!

How to Send SAT Scores to Colleges
When it comes to sending scores to colleges, there are a couple of options for students to think about. The first option allows students to specify their requests during SAT registration – each student gets four registration score reports for free.

The second option for sending SAT scores to colleges happens after registration. This option is perfect for students who aren’t sure where they want to attend school. Students go online to their SAT account on the College Board’s website to add names of colleges. They are allowed to add colleges to their list for nine days after their test date. There is an additional fee to send score reports if they are submitted ten days after a student’s test date.

Can Students Decide Which SAT Scores They Send to Colleges?
Students can sign up for a program on the College Board’s website that allows them to choose the SAT scores they send out to colleges. A student is able to choose a score by SAT test date or even select a specific SAT subject test. Naturally, most students want to emphasize their highest test scores to colleges. Some students enjoy having this type of control over the SAT score-sending process. But all students must keep in mind that most college officials make it a point to focus on each student’s best SAT scores.

Can Students Have Their SAT Scores Rush-Delivered to Schools?
It is possible for students to have their SAT scores sent to a college by rush delivery service. Sometimes students make a last-minute decision about applying to a college and need to get their test scores to the school as soon as possible. In some cases, this can be an ideal way to deliver SAT scores. Send the scores via this method and the school will receive the information within two business days of order completion.

How Can Students View Their Own SAT Score Report?
Students have access to their SAT scores approximately three weeks after they take the test. They will receive notification that the scores are in. To look at the scores, students must sign into their SAT account on the College Board’s website. They’ll also have access to a full score report. This report provides a detailed breakdown of a student’s scores and provides a comparison with others who took the SAT. If a student registers for the SAT by mail, they will be sent a paper copy of a score report.

Preparing for the SAT
Students who want to turn in their best possible performance on the SAT should start preparing several months before their test date. At Veritas Prep, we hire capable instructors who scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT. Our instructors are able to convey helpful strategies and tips to students based on their practical knowledge of the exam. We provide students with the support and encouragement they need to do well on test day. We have in-person and online courses so students can choose the option that fits into their busy schedule. We give students the tools they need to navigate this important exam.

Our professional instructors use effective study materials and resources to help students prepare for every section of the test. In addition, we review practice tests with students to make each study period as efficient as possible. We are proud to play a part in a student’s success on the SAT. Contact the Veritas Prep team to see how we can help you succeed today!

Still need to take the SAT? Check out our variety of free SAT resources to help you study successfully. And be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

Is Cornell’s Tech MBA Right for You?

Cornell UniversityIn 2012, the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA was born. This program offered Cornell Johnson an entry into New York City, thus extending the brand from the more rural town of Ithaca into the business hub of Manhattan. If you’re looking to enter the tech industry post-MBA, let’s discuss some things you should evaluate when deciding whether or not Cornell’s Tech MBA is right for you:

Location
Can you handle the Big Apple? Going to school in New York City is not for everyone, so make sure that “the city that never sleeps” is an environment that would be conducive to reaching your development goals as an MBA student. New York also offers considerable career and lifestyle opportunities that can be advantageous to many students – the remote location of Cornell’s traditional two-year MBA program can be a negative for some, so with access to the bustling metropolis of New York City, the Tech MBA program offers a combination of Cornell’s great academics with a vibrant environment.

Timeline
Cornell’s Tech MBA offers an accelerated program that gets students back into the job force quickly, while still offering the Johnson School’s world-renowned core business curriculum. With a quick, one-year completion timeline, this program represents an ideal format for those looking to get back into the workforce as soon as possible. Also, for those already deep in their career and who cannot afford too much time away from their companies, this focused curriculum and accelerated timeline makes a ton of sense.

Career Focus
The most important aspect of deciding whether Cornell’s Tech MBA is right for you is whether you have a passion for entrepreneurship and technology. This program is looking for people who have existing experience in digital, tech, and engineering – given the tech focus of this MBA, this should come as no surprise. The program is primarily focused on helping students secure roles in project management, product management, product marketing, and entrepreneurship in the tech industry, so if these subjects interest you, then the Tech MBA may be a good choice for you.

Network
This program offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a tech-focused business program with other industry leaders. Although still a relatively new program, the alumni and potential connections that come from this space will offer an impressive network for both current students and other alumni. Given the entrepreneurial focus of the program, opportunities for collaboration are one of the tantamount benefits of the Tech MBA. In fact, this entrepreneurial mindset is baked into the curriculum of the program through the “Startup Studio”, in which a team of students work together to develop a new business idea from concept to launch.

Pursuing a technology-focused MBA degree may not be for everyone, so use the above factors to determine if Cornell’s Tech MBA is right for you.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

Get the Extra Help You Need with AP Calculus AB and BC Tutoring

tutoringAre you taking an AP calculus course or preparing for an AP calculus test? If you’re an ambitious high school student who is studying calculus, you may be looking into getting an AP calculus tutor. A talented tutor can help you in a variety of ways as you progress through an AP calculus course or prep for the AP exam. There are distinct advantages to signing up for AP calculus tutoring services to help you through this difficult material.

Practice With an Expert in Calculus
Calculus tutors are especially helpful when it comes to practice exercises. Whether you’re taking a practice exam as you prepare for the official test or you’re practicing for an upcoming quiz in your calculus class, you must know how to tackle different types of problems.

A tutor who is an expert in calculus can look at the steps of your completed practice exercises and tell you how you can improve. For example, your tutor may point out important steps that you skipped in some of your incorrect problems. This observation from your tutor can help you get into the habit of looking over all of your steps before putting down your final answer to each problem.

The experienced calculus tutors at Veritas Prep have worked with many high school students enrolled in AP calculus. We are familiar with the challenging aspects of this subject and are ready to provide you with the guidance you need to feel confident regarding your calculus skills. You will work with an instructor who mastered calculus and is more than prepared to help you excel in the subject.

Learn Lessons with Efficiency
When it comes to studying calculus, math tutor lessons should be delivered in your own learning style. If you’re a visual learner, for example, your tutor should use graphs, drawings, and even animated examples to enhance a lesson. At Veritas Prep, we provide calculus tutoring services tailored to the needs of each student. We are dedicated to helping you learn this challenging subject in the most effective way possible.

Get Tips on the AP Calculus Test
Students who are taking an official AP calculus test will take either the AB or BC version. The difference between these two tests is the type of material each one covers. The AP Calculus AB test covers the definite integral, the fundamental theorem of calculus, and techniques and applications of the derivative. The AP Calculus BC test covers those topics as well as polar, vector, and parametric functions.

Another way to look at it is that the material on the AB test is the same as what a student learns in one semester of college calculus. Alternatively, the material on the BC test is equal to one year spent in a college calculus course. An AP Calculus AB tutor or an AP Calculus BC tutor at Veritas Prep can prepare you for all of the problems you’ll encounter on the test you take. Furthermore, our tutors have practical experience with these tests. This means we can provide you with unique insights on the subtleties of both AP calculus exams.

Learn New Study Strategies
As you work on calculus problems either in class or during study time, you may notice that it’s taking you a long time to complete certain types of problems. A skillful tutor can provide you with strategies on how to reduce the amount of time it takes you to finish those problems. This is especially important if you are studying for the AP Calculus AB or BC test.

Regardless of which test you take, you’re given a total of three hours and 15 minutes to complete it. This makes timing an important factor if you want to perform at your best on the test. If you’re encountering challenges memorizing particular formulas or theorems, your tutor can step in and offer some tips on how you can commit those facts to memory. A qualified tutor will have a strategy to help you get past any stumbling block you encounter in AP calculus.

If you’re striving to master AP Calculus, we have experienced tutors who can help you achieve that goal. We have a few tutoring options available so you can select one that fits with your busy schedule. Contact us today and get ready to tackle the exam!

The GRE and the Ivy League

Princeton UniversityThe Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, is a test taken by students who plan to apply to graduate school. Not surprisingly, students must achieve high scores on this test if they want to be accepted into a school in the Ivy League. GRE scores earned by students in Ivy League schools differ depending on the study program, but in most study programs at Ivy League schools, students have GRE scores that rank in the 95th percentile or above.

In short, students who want to attend graduate school in the Ivy League must have a high GRE score to be considered. Discover more about the GRE and what students can do to achieve high scores that can help them get into a graduate program at an Ivy League school.

The Sections of the GRE
The GRE has three parts, including the Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Analytical Writing sections. The Verbal Reasoning section asks students to evaluate written material. This section tests students’ reading comprehension skills as well as their ability to identify words and concepts. The Quantitative Reasoning section tests students’ problem-solving skills – basic arithmetic, algebra, ratios, number properties, geometry, and data analysis problems are all included in this section of the GRE. A student’s critical thinking skills are put to the test in the Analytical Writing section. Students must create an organized written piece with plenty of evidence to support their ideas.

Scoring on the GRE
Students taking the GRE should know that there is a score assigned to each of the three sections of the test. For the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal sections, the score range goes from 130 to 170. The score range is 0 to 6 for the Analytical Writing section of the test. Points for the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections are awarded in one-point increments. The Analytical Writing section, on the other hand, is scored in half-point increments.

Study Tips for the GRE
Learning vocabulary words is an important part of the GRE prep process. Of course, it’s a good idea to practice with flashcards. Flashcards are excellent for memorizing words and their definitions. But it also helps for students to see vocabulary words used in context. This can be accomplished by reading magazines and newspapers. Also, the Internet is one of the best resources for books and articles. Seeing an unfamiliar word in context is an effective way for a student to absorb the word’s definition.

Another tip is to take several practice tests. This is an excellent way for a student to determine which skills need the most improvement. Plus, a student can gain confidence as they see progress with each set of practice test results.

In addition, students should make a point of starting to prepare as soon as possible for the GRE. Studying material for the GRE should be done in a gradual way over a period of months – it’s a good idea for a student to study daily for the GRE. Some students think of studying for the GRE as a part-time job. This helps them to incorporate GRE study time into their daily lives. Students who feel rushed or try to cram on information just days before the test are not likely to perform at their best on the GRE.

Studying With the Experts
At Veritas Prep, we offer courses that can help students prepare for the GRE. Our talented instructors have all achieved great success on the GRE, so students who study with Veritas Prep are learning test-taking strategies from individuals with hands-on experience! We provide students with both in-person and online tutoring options, making it easy for students to find the option that best fits into their busy schedule. Our instructors also offer students the encouragement they need to boost their confidence in the days before the test.

In addition to our GRE prep courses, we provide students with guidance on MBA admissions. Our professional consultants have experience working in the admissions offices at Ivy League schools, so we have inside information on what it takes to get into the Ivy League. GRE scores can improve with the help of our proven program and skillful tutors. From GRE prep to college admissions guidance, Veritas Prep can help you on the road to achieving your academic goals.

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

The Holistic Approach to Absolute Values – Part V

Quarter Wit, Quarter WisdomWe will continue our holistic approach to absolute values and add more complications to these types of questions. This article should set you up for any question of this kind. Note that this is a 750+ level concept, so if you are targeting a lower score, it may not be necessary for you to know.

(Before you continue reading, be sure to check out Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV of this lesson.)

Let’s look at the following GMAT question:

For how many integer values of x, is |x – 6| > |3x + 6|?

(A) 1
(B) 3
(C) 5
(D) 7
(E) Infinite

In this question, we are given the inequality |x – 6| > 3*|x + 2|

Using the same logic as we did in the previous two posts, we will word the inequality like this: the distance from 6 should be more than three times the distance from -2.
QWQW image 2

 

At x = -2, the distance from 6 is 8 and the distance from -2 is 0. This means the distance from 6 is more than three times the distance from -2.

At x = -1, the distance from 6 is 7 and the distance from -2 is 1. Three times the distance from -2 is 3. This means the distance from 6 is more than three times the distance from -2.

At some point on the right of -1, the distance from 6 will be equal to three times the distance from -2. The distance between -2 and 6 is 8. If we split this 8 into 4 equal parts to get to x = 0, the distance from 6 will be equal to three times the distance from -2.

Now for every point to the right of 0, the distance from 6 will be less than three times the distance from -2.

Let’s try to go to the left of -2 instead. Will there be a point to the left of -2 where the distance from 6 will be equal to three times the distance from -2? Say that point is “a” units away from -2. -2 must then be 2a units away from 6 to ensure that 6 is a total of 3a units away from that point.

The distance between -2 and 6 is 8 – this 8 needs to be equal to 2a, so “a” must be 4 units.

The point where the distance from 6 will be equal to three times the distance from -2 will be 4 units to the left of -2, i.e. at -6. So at points to the right of -6 (but left of 0), the distance from 6 will be more than three times the distance from -2.

Note that for all values to the left of -6, the distance from 6 will be less than three times the distance from -2.

Hence, our x will lie in the range from -6 to 0.

-6 < x < 0

With these parameters, we will have 5 integer solutions: -5, -4, -3, -2 and -1. Hence, our answer is C.

Let’s look at a second question:

For how many integer values of x, is |x – 8| + |5 – x| > |x + 7|?

(A) 1
(B) 3
(C) 5
(D) 7
(E) Infinite

Now the true value of this method is visible, as we have three or more terms. The arduous algebra involved in this given inequality makes our logical approach much more attractive.

First note that we have the term |5 – x|. This is the same as |x – 5| because |x| = |-x|.

We will word the inequality like this: the distance from 5 + the distance from 8 should be greater than the distance from -7.

QWQW image 1

 

Let’s find the point where the sum of the distance from 5 and the distance from 8 is equal to distance from -7. Say that point is “a” units to the left of 5.

a + a + 3 = 12 – a
a = 3

So the point is 3 units to the left of 5, which means it is at 2. For all points to the left of 2, the sum of the distance from 5 and the distance from 8 will be greater than the distance from -7.

How about the points that are to the right of 8? Say there is a point “b” units away from 8 where the sum of the distance from 5 and the distance from 8 is equal to the distance from -7.

3 + b + b = 15 + b
b = 12

So if we go 12 units to the right of 8, i.e. at x = 20, the sum of the distance from 5 and the distance from 8 is equal to the distance from -7.

For all points to the right of 20, the sum of the distance from 5 and the distance from 8 is greater than the distance from -7, so there will be infinite points for which the sum of the distance from 5 and the distance from 8 is greater than the distance from -7. Therefore, our answer is E.

Using this concept, try to answer the following question on your own: For how many integer values of x, is |x – 6| – |3x + 6| > 0?

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!